Plan to give a push to the sericulture sector comes a cropper

A plan conceived to give a push to the sericulture sector, through setting of silk growth centres, seems to have failed.

Thirteen years ago, the State government with aid from the World Bank introduced an ambitious project to uplift the economic status of weavers.

Seven potential districts were identified for establishment of the centres. The places identified were Chitradurga, Madhugiri (Tumkur), Jewargi (Gulbarga), Hassan, Navaraspur (Bijapur), Tigadi (Belgaum) and Kudligi (Bellary).

The idea was to promote the silk industry outside the traditional silk producing areas such as Mysore, Chamarajanagar and Ramanagara.

The government released funds for constructing buildings and installing sophisticated machinery for silk production. As the sericulturists were transporting the raw material to the traditional places, the government wanted the products to be made ready at the local level itself which could fetch more revenue to the weavers.

“But the lack of planning and the failure to take corrective steps resulted in the expensive machinery almost remaining idle,” said a senior officer of Sericulture Department.

He told The Hindu that no government was serious about the project.

It was proposed to process 324 tonnes of cocoons and produce around 24 tonnes of silk. This would have provided direct employment to over 100 people at every centre, and indirect work to several others.

As per the proposal, the private company had to invest a minimum of Rs. 10 lakh. “Despite inviting tenders, no entrepreneur was ready to invest that much amount, and the government did not agree to the sum quoted by them as it was far less,” he said.

It is learnt that the entrepreneurs were apprehensive of finding expert workers and also had several doubts on the issue of marketing.

Now, the government had decided to shift the machinery to silk production centres of Mysore and Chamarajanagar. “At the local level, the department has decided to use the machines to train weavers. We hope that at least this will work out,” he said.

Firoz Rozindar in Chitradurga