For district’s weavers, another crisis looming

Around 600 families of weavers in Chendamangalam and Paravur face an uncertain future with severe shortage of raw materials and unpaid wages.

There was shortage of raw materials with the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown shutting down businesses across the country. “Unpaid wages for the work they have done makes matters more difficult,” said P.A. Sojan, a veteran of the handloom industry. The workers had not received wages for the school uniforms they had supplied last November, he said.

Ajit Kumar Gothuruth of Chendamangalam Karimpadam Society said the weavers also faced a shortage of opportunities to sell their products. With economic activities coming to a standstill in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, there was little money left with people to buy handloom products, he said. The government’s school uniform programme too had fallen on hard times and wages were yet to be paid for more than six months, he said.

By a rough estimate, the handloom weavers in Paravur and Chendamangalam should have produced about 96,000 metres of cloth for the free uniform project, with 480 weavers working over a period of 200 days a year. The progress of the work was halted with a serious shortage of raw materials as factories closed down in different parts of the country.

Both Mr. Sojan and Mr. Kumar expressed their fears about an uncertain future even as the State government recently launched a rebate sale of handloom products. Registered weavers received ₹2,000 in two instalments as support for the lockdown period. “There are weavers who need more support. A sum of ₹10,000 for every weaver and low cost loans will help them,” said Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 12:55:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/for-districts-weavers-another-crisis-looming/article32024864.ece

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