It provides employment in Maoist-affected Muddur

Outside a woman was dyeing coir ropes in a vat, inside there was the whirring sound of solar spinning machines as two women tried to weave the coir yarn into a rope. They were deeply immersed in their work and were enjoying it.

As many as 70 women including 28 from the most backward Koraga community, a Scheduled Tribe, are working at the Coir Training and Development Centre in the Maoist-affected village of Muddur in Jadkal Gram Panchayat.

A team of presspersons were taken by the Department of Information from Udupi to Muddur to visit the Coir Development and Training Centre on Saturday.

The Centre started functioning about four months ago and is a joint initiative of the Department of Industries and Commerce and Karnataka State Coir Development Corporation. Two more such training centres have been opened in the naxalite affected villages of Eedu and Mala in the district, where 24 persons each are getting trained.

According to Gracy Joseph, president of Jadkal Gram Panchayat, it was difficult for women to get jobs in a backward area such as Muddur. Due to mechanisation of agriculture, the jobs in the agricultural field were decreasing. “Though there was overwhelming response from women from the village to get trained, we could give training in coir rope and mate making only to 70 women because of space constraints,” she said.

The women got training two months each in coir rope and mat making. During the training period, they were also paid a stipend of Rs. 1,500 per month. The coir to make ropes and mats is supplied by the Corporation. According to P. Nagesh, Joint Director of District Industries Centre, there was no dropout of any women during the training. “This shows their interest. Women can earn between Rs. 100 to Rs. 150 per day.”

Revati, a trainee, said she had started to work after 12 years. There were five members in her family including three children. “The work is good, but it requires concentration. If we get a single rope wrong while weaving a mat, we have to remove the entire thing and redo it. Weaving a mat is tougher than spinning a rope. The finishing has to be good for a mat,” she said.

Sadu, a trainee, said working in the fields was tough because she had to bear the blazing sun and the rains. “This is better as we work in a building,” she said.

Sadu’s daughter Seeta, a BA graduate, said she was sitting at home with no work for the last two years. “But now I am gainfully employed here. Of course, if I get better opportunity, I will leave this work,” she said.

Shobha and Usha, two trainees, said: “We get Rs. 15 for spinning a kg of rope and Rs. 6.10 for weaving a mat. This is too meagre. The Corporation should increase the rates to Rs. 20 per kg of rope and Rs. 10 per mat. This will increase our earning. Nobody can spin more than 15 kg of rope per day.”

H.K. Rajashekhar, Regional Manager of the Corporation, said the Corporation had a showroom at Sasthan in the district. The monthly sales were between Rs. 3 lakh and Rs. 4 lakh. “The mats and other coir products are sold to different parts of the State and country. There is lot of demand for coir products,” he said.

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