Rs. 200 cr. for handloom sector urged

HYDERABAD Jan.3 . The BJP Handloom Weavers' Cell which held its executive committee meeting here on Friday, demanded procurement of cloth worth Rs.80 crores required by the various State departments and agencies, through the APCO so that work could be created for the distressed weavers.

Releasing the resolutions adopted at a press conference, the party spokesman and MLA, K. Laxman, and the convener of the cell, V. Sriramulu, said if the Government procured the required cloth, lives of the weavers could be saved.

Conveners of the cell's district units attended the meeting which sought budgetary allocation of Rs.200 crores as in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, to the handloom sector so as to prevent famine deaths of weavers. The families of such weavers should be provided widow/old age pensions, housing and education facilities.

As decided by the State Cabinet Sub-committee, weavers of over 50 years should be paid Rs.250 as pension each.

Dr. Laxman said the executive also wanted the State Government to release a subsidy of 20 per cent to the package announced by the Centre on August 15 and utilise the amount for purchasing piled up stocks with the master weavers and cooperative societies. This step would provide relief to them.

It sought scrapping of 9.2 per cent excise levy on the hank yarn and demanded steps to ensure implementation of the Handloom Reservation Act, 1985, which limited the mill production to 50 per cent and allocation of 22 varieties to the handloom sector. The meeting decided to represent to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister to scrap the excise duty.

The other demands put up by the meeting included scrapping of four per cent sales tax on small powerlooms and yarn as assured by the Cabinet Sub-Committee, stoppage of sale of APCO assets, setting up of a centre in Hyderabad to allow export of silk tie and dye dhurries and purchase of piled up sari and dress material stocks worth Rs.20 crores in Prakasam and Guntur districts.

Mr. Sriramulu said the meeting decided to organise a Telangana handlooom weavers' convention in February/March this year at Bhoodan Pochampalli.

The Union Minister for Textiles, Kashiram Rana, and his Cabinet colleagues from AP were expected to attend.

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