The Tamil Nadu Handloom Weaver's Co-operative Society, popularly known as Co-optex, has organised an exhibition of handloom fabrics at Makkal Mandram, Thillai Nagar, from June 2 to 15. This is a maiden initiative under the Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Scheme launched by the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, to promote the welfare of weavers across India.

Fifteen handloom clusters out of the 25 in the State have set up their stalls to showcase the traditional expertise of their respective regions. A 20 per cent discount is available on all fabrics.

An array of sarees are on display including art silk, silk cotton, polycotton, kora cotton, striped devendira, bemberg cotton, kodambakkam sarees and self-munthi sarees.

Silk sarees with elaborate pallu and intricate thread work from Kanchipuram, Arani, Salem and Coimbatore occupy centre stage.

Co-optex has introducted new designs to cater to contemporary tastes. In an attempt to woo the young, the Nilayur Handloom cluster has introduced cotton hand printed chudidhar materials and readymade shirts in pure cotton for the first time.

Apart from towels, blankets and lunghis at affordable prices, there are bedspreads in pastel shades for Rs. 100, and hand-painted colourful doormats at Rs. nine a piece. Noteworthy are the cheddi butta sarees with handwoven designs from Veeravanalur, kora cotton tie and dye sarees with exquisite Pochampalli designs from Palani and lightweight silk sarees with pure silver zari from Aarani priced at Rs.4,400.

According to R. Nadanasababathi, Senior Regional Manger, Co-optex, Thanjavur, the exhibition aims at a target of Rs. 25 lakh. He said that the sale was part of a welfare scheme directed primarily to generate employment.

Earlier, Collector, T. Soundiah inaugurated the exhibition.