Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The State government will urge the Centre gain to tackle the issue of rising prices of yarn, Handlooms Minister N.K.K.P.Raaja told the Assembly on Wednesday.

Responding to All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member V. Senthil Balaji’s observation that textile units had called a State-wide strike and fast on May 16, the Minister said it was for the Centre to act.

However, “we have been taking up the matter with the Centre. Certainly, yarn prices will be contained,” Mr. Raaja said, winding up the debate on the demands for grants to the Handlooms and Textiles departments.

To the Congress legislator Vidiyel S. Sekar’s demand for implementing the Rs.750-crore project to overcome the problem of treating effluents discharged by dyeing and bleaching units of Tirupur, the Minister replied that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March.

Adverting to the query raised by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s member G. Latha over the status of rehabilitation of the closed cooperative spinning mills, the Minister said the administration’s present focus was on strengthening the currently-functioning mills.

Mr. Raaja said the government had initiated efforts to complete the production of uniform cloth before the end of May to distribute it along with textbooks when schools re-opened in June.

Under the Health Insurance Scheme for handloom weavers, about three lakh weavers would be covered.

In respect of another insurance scheme for handloom weavers, 1,92,220 weavers had been enrolled, of whom 1,25,054 were from the cooperative fold and the rest from outside the cooperative sector.

A provision of Rs.118 crore had been made for the rebate subsidy scheme, under which the government permitted primary weavers’ cooperative societies and Co-optex (Tamil nadu Handloom Weavers’ Cooperative Societies) to sell handloom cloth, providing a rebate of 20 per cent for wholesale and retail sale.

To provide an exclusive identity to handloom products and to improve marketing, the department had initiated necessary steps to increase the use of Handloom Mark scheme.

So far, 724 primary weavers’ cooperative societies and 1,324 individuals had been registered under the scheme.

C. Ponnudurai (AIADMK) said after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government took over two years ago, the number of handloom weavers’ cooperative societies had gone down.