L. Renganathan

Goods worth Rs. 15 crore pile up

8,000 workers expected to have lost jobs on strike days

Textile industry avoiding us, say handloom weavers

KARUR: The two-day shutters down strike by the handloom textile producers in Karur district has come at time that could hardly be termed the best or the worst.

Coming in the midst of the handloom week that is being celebrated between December 21 and 27, the strike has sought to highlight the difficulties the sector was facing and the need to redress the grievances.

However, the handloom weavers have a different story to tell and press for continued action against erring textile units that divert varieties meant for process under handloom to power loom to make some quick bucks.

Over 500 units owing allegiance to the Karur District Weaving and Knitting Factory Owners’ Association resorted to the strike on Tuesday and Wednesday that left handloom textiles worth Rs. 15 crore getting piled up for want of activity in the units. It is estimated that over 8,000 skilled workers would have lost jobs on the two days.

The crux of the problem was the search and censure of some units that were alleged to have been weaving textiles in the powerloom sector with material specifically allotted under the handloom sector.

It is surmised that powerloom weavers from the neighbouring Erode district would get the material to be woven as job works and weave them in the power loom skirting ticklish issues. That prompted a search by the Department of Textiles officials, sources said.

Following the action, Association members met with president P. Ramasamy in the chair and in the presence of secretary R. Natarajan and others. The members stated that material was being diverted to power loom only because number of handloom weavers was iandequate and the status quo should continue till the situation changed. They also decided to petition the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.

Handloom weavers in Karur district have categorically stated that there were enough skilled handloom weavers in Karur, Erode, Namakkal and Tirupur but the textile industry was avoiding them under one pretext or the other.

District Handloom Weavers’ Association president Palanisamy and others members of the Association wanted the officials to implement the directive that stipulated processing under the handloom sector the select 11 varieties of material reserved.

But vested interests were sanctioning job works for the power loom sector in open defiance of the orders and directives.

That should be ended if the artisans need food for sustenance, the handloom weavers said.