Coimbatore

Bhavani jamakkalam losing its sheen

The number of families involved in weaving has come down drastically. Workers making Bhavani  jamakkalam  in Erode on Tuesday.

The number of families involved in weaving has come down drastically. Workers making Bhavani jamakkalam in Erode on Tuesday.

The hand-woven Bhavani jamakkalam (carpet), known for its finesse and aesthetic values, is losing its sheen as the traditional industry is unable to overcome the challenges and is on the verge of closure.

Next to agriculture, weaving is the major industry in villages located in Bhavani and Anthiyur. Over 20,000 families were earlier involved in weaving the jamakkalams at pit looms in their houses.

Later, 10 handlooms were installed at a place by an individual and weavers were employed for wages.

Now, the jamakkalam , which was recognised as a Geographical Indication by the Government of India in 2005, is facing challenges as it is produced in power looms in violation of the Handloom (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985.

V. Siddhaiyan, secretary, Bhavani Taluk Handloom Jamakkalam, Blanket Weavers and Dyeing Workers Union, said that as per the law, 11 products, including Bhavani jamakkalam , should be produced only in handlooms. Since officials failed to monitor the implementation, the jamakkalam was made in power looms and sold in the market at a low price.

The number of families involved in weaving had also come down drastically. This threatened the existence of the industry in the coming years, he added.

Poor earnings for the weavers, 5% Goods and Service Tax on the carpet, piling of stock at societies and stiff competition from power looms forced many weavers to give up weaving.

Shanmugam (72), who is into weaving for over 40 years, said that his maximum earnings a day would not cross ₹ 220 for the work that he begins at 7 a.m. and ends by 4.30 p.m. “We could be the last set of weavers as our children are into other works,” he said.

Over 60% of the weavers are women who earn between ₹ 160 to ₹ 200 for a day’s work as wages are calculated based on the woven length.

Dhanakodi, who runs a unit employing ten workers, said that carpets made in Solapur, Maharashtra, were brought by traders and marketed as Bhavani jamakkalams .

The weavers said that revision of wages, stringent action against power looms producing carpets, turning the sector as profitable and training youths to take up weaving would prevent the closure of the industry.


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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 3:11:00 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/bhavani-jamakkalam-losing-its-sheen/article29385980.ece