The State government will soon announce a growth-oriented textile policy to attract more investments in the handlooms and textiles sector and to increase employment opportunities in the sector.

Handlooms and Textiles Minister K.K.S.S.R.Ramachandran in his reply to discussion on demands on Handlooms and Textiles Department in the Assembly on Tuesday said the policy would be implemented in the current financial year itself.

A mega handlooms cluster would be set up in Virudhunagar at a cost of Rs. 70 crore to enable skill up-gradation training, design development, conversion of varieties, establishment of common facilities centre, setting up of dye house and basic infrastructural facilities for improving the socio-economic conditions of weavers in the area. The Cooptex had been appointed as the nodal agency for implementing the scheme.

Due to the efforts of the State government, Rs. 320 crore had been allocated as grant for the setting up of common effluent treatment plants in Tirupur. Of this, the Centre would share Rs. 200 crore and the balance would be borne by the State government. Effluents from dyeing units in Tirupur would be treated at effluent plants as per the standards prescribed to control pollution and the treated effluents would be let out into sea.

The Minister also announced that with the financial assistance of the Central and State governments the National Apparel Design Centre would be opened in Coimbatore. At present, the centre was functioning in Chennai alone. With the opening of the centre in Coimbatore, the State would soon become the major centre for apparel design in the country. To provide new designs to weavers a computer design centre would be set up in Coimbatore.

To increase the retail sales of Cooptex, new designs would be created in sarees, home textile products, readymade shirts, kurtha materials and churidars. Ten showrooms would be modernised and 20 centres would be provided air-conditioned facilities. To improve the sales of handloom goods, 40 district-level exhibitions and two special handloom exhibitions and one national-level exhibition would be organised in the current year.

A powerloom census would be undertaken in the State to devise the new policy for improving the powerloom sector and also the conditions of weavers. To provide employment opportunities, 4,000 rural youths would be given training in the maintenance of powerlooms and in designs and weaving, the Minister added.