The Federation of Tamil Nadu Handloom Pure Silk Cloth Manufacturers' Association, Kumbakonam, has appealed to Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi to provide raw silk to handloom silk weavers' societies at 50 per cent subsidy to make the industry viable, which has been affected by the fall in sale of silk saris produced by them.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister recently, federation advisor Raya R.Govindarajan, president K. G. Ramasamy, and secretary Kumba Govindasamy, stated that the price of raw silk, the raw material for producing handloom silk saris, has gone up by 150 per cent in the last one and a half years.

On the other hand, handloom weavers are finding it difficult to increase the cost of saris by even 10 per cent, as saris produced using power looms have flooded the market and are sold at cheap price.

Many handloom weavers are forced to give up their traditional occupation. Raw silk price that was Rs. 900 per kilo in 2008, is now Rs. 2,250 per kilo. The federation demanded waiver of bank loans and provision of interest free fresh loans to run the handlooms.

Charter of demands

Among their charter of demands, boost to raw silk production in Tamil Nadu and teaching of weaving technology by institutes in weavers-dominated areas are major ones. The federation recalled how the Chief Minister sold handloom clothes by carrying them on his shoulders. It was the Chief Minister who gave free electricity supply to weavers.

Besides creating a welfare board for them, free dhothi and saris distribution was introduced by the government to help the weavers, it stated. The federation also said there are 10 lakh weavers in Tamil Nadu and weavers cooperative societies are functioning at Kancheepuram, Arni, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Salem, Kondalampatti and Valajapettai.

Copies of the memorandum have been sent to Deputy Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, Cooperation Minister Ko. Si. Mani and state Handlooms Minister K.K.S.S.R Ramachandran.