Andhra Pradesh

Spell of doom for handloom

Silk sari shops wearing a deserted look in a street in Dharmavaram in Anantapur district.

Silk sari shops wearing a deserted look in a street in Dharmavaram in Anantapur district.   | Photo Credit: R_V_S_PRASAD

It’s gloomy forecast for powerloom weavers also

ANANTAPUR : Fifty-three-year-old Muneppa sits idle in his house-cum-saree sales unit as sales have drastically dropped in the handloom town of Dharmavaram in Anantapur district.

“It has been four days since I have had a sale. It took almost another four days before that for a sale to happen. I never imagined that such a day would ever come,” says Muneppa. He had supported the Centre's move to demonetise Rs.500 and Rs.1,000 notes but now opines that Narendra Modi was short sighted in his move.

Sales of the famed handloom-woven silk sarees have crashed from an average of over Rs.150 crore per month—through around 5,000 stores and varied points of sale such as people selling sarees by going to homes—to less than Rs.30 crore.

“We used to sell close to Rs.40 lakh worth of sarees in months such as these (Nov. and Dec.) which don’t have many ‘muhurtams’ for marriages. But since the demonetisation we have hardly sold Rs.10 lakh worth of sarees,” says Somasekhar from Dharmavaram, salesman at a store.

Business falls by 70 p.c.

According to traders in Mudireddipalli village near Hindupur, which is at the centre of the powerloom-woven sarees, which are traded in bulk to stores across the country, business has come down by at least 70 per cent from around Rs.50 crore a month—in months preceding festivals such as the upcoming Sankranti festival—to less than Rs.15 crore.

The handloom and powerloom weavers are expecting to bear the brunt of demonetisation in terms of loss of business over the next few months as most stores have refrained from placing orders with the loom owners. Stores which own their own looms have almost stopped working on the looms until they get a handle on how the current situation is going to play out.

In all, demonetisation might well spell the death knell for many poor weavers who are already neck deep in debts while power loom owners face at least a few months of uncertainty, unpaid loans and tens of crores of business lost.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:37:52 PM |

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