Efforts are on to protect the Kasaragod sari under the clause of Geographical indicator.

The glorious days of the hand-woven Kasaragod sari may be over but it has withstood the challenges of time and is still popular among the people.

K. Lokanatha, secretary, Kasaragod Weavers’ Cooperative Production and Sale Society Ltd., says the Kasaragod sari, known for its durability, traditional designs and colour quality, is still popular. In fact, the weavers are finding it difficult to meet the market demand.

He says efforts are on to protect the Kasaragod sari under the clause of Geographical indicator.

The State directorate of handloom textiles has submitted a proposal to this effect to the Union Textiles Commissioner.

Dyeing process

He says the dyeing process of the saris woven here on traditional looms is indigenous.

The saris are available in 25 colours. The designs are traditional and the saris are priced between Rs.450 and Rs.800.

Most of the saris woven here are in cotton, but artificial silk saris are also produced, in fewer numbers. Mr. Lokanatha says silk saris were produced in Kasaragod earlier but are not in vogue now.

He says production had hit an all-time high in the early Nineties when 500 looms were engaged in weaving. But now, only 30 looms are engaged in sari manufacture.

The society is the sole producer of the sari at present.

Lack of workers

Mr. Lokanatha says the production has fallen considerably in recent years owing to various factors. Not many skilled labourers are available.

The low remuneration is not attracting youngsters to weaving.

The prices of saris could not be hiked much because of competition and the margins in selling a sari are low. As a result, the weavers could not be paid high wages. The average daily wage of a weaver is around Rs.100.

Earlier, members of the Padma Shaliya community used to weave the Kasaragod sari but youngsters of the community are not interested in their traditional vocation. He says the society has begun attracting youth from all sections with financial assistance of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.

It has started a four-month training course in sari weaving for the youth and 20 women are undergoing training at present. The society has requested the State government to extend aid to more students to undergo training in weaving.

He says the government is yet to distribute arrears in rebate to the tune of several lakhs to the society.

Instead of giving reimbursement for rebates given by societies to customers during the festival season, the government should provide incentives on purchase of raw material by the societies, Mr. Lokanatha says.

A. Harikumar