They say Centre has not set aside funds for handlooms

A group of weavers gathered near the clock tower in Muthialpet in order to protest their loss of livelihood by making rice gruel (kanji) on the roadside.

According to one of the protesters, the Central Government had not set aside any funds for handlooms in this budget. In the previous years, there had been a separate allocation for the handloom sector. It was the duty of the State government to ask the Centre to allocate funds for them and to ensure that their livelihood was not affected.

Puducherry was famous for handlooms in the past, and in the 1960s there were over 12,000 handloom weavers. Now, however, the numbers had dwindled considerably and even those who were still in the profession did not have work.

Government help

The government, which was earlier providing the thread for these weavers, has stopped doing so recently. They have also stopped paying their wages, despite the weavers turning up for work everyday. The government is legally obliged to pay them at least 50 per cent of their wages, the protester said.

Despite sending representations to various government agencies and ministers, there was still no response. Unless the situation changed, the protests would continue, the protesters said.