Residents of the Anna University staff quarters here had a surprise visitor knocking on their doors on Wednesday morning. The visitor was Madras University Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam, who accompanied by a group of students urged the residents to patronise handloom products.

Along with NSS volunteers, he visited houses in Kottur and Kotturpuram. “We planned to take up door-to-door sale of Co-optex products. During a weeklong campaign conducted recently by the Madras University Co-optex products, worth Rs.2 crore, were sold.

The idea is to inculcate in the students a respect for handloom. A total of 154 colleges affiliated to the University in various districts in the State are involved in this effort today,” Dr. Thiruvasagam said.

Special rebate

A special rebate of 35 per cent was offered by Co-optex for those who bought handloom items through the students.

“If every college carried out such weeklong campaigns throughout the year, we should be able to sell handloom products worth Rs.100 crore,” Dr. Thiruvasagam added.

Initially the students hesitated but when they saw the Vice-Chancellor drape over his shoulders a dhoti, a lungi and a sari and knock on the door of S. Mary Vennila, a lecturer of Computer Science in Presidency College, they were enthused. Dr. Mary Vennila told The Hindu that she purchased bedspreads, saris and towels for Rs.1,000. “Their towels are good and I plan to buy some salwar suits also,” she said.

At the end of the exercise sales crossed Rs.1.76 lakh in Chennai. Simultaneously around the State, Rs.4 crore worth handloom items were sold by students, Dr. Thiruvasagam said.

Unforgettable experience

“These students will never forget the experience, whatever career they choose. They should understand the issue at hand and commit themselves to improving the lives of the less privileged,” he added.

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