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Khadi grows as a high fashion fabric, but weavers struggle
Oct '11
It is a quirk of fate that while Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, preached all Indians to wear khadi, the weavers engaged in preparation of the fabric in Karnataka struggle for subsistence even after toiling hard for years together.

It is an irony that on one side khadi has evolved as a high fashion fabric, while on the other the weavers of the fabric do not even earn the minimum wages fixed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).

This became apparent during the commemorations held to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of the Mahatma at Bangalore's Gandhi Bhavan.

A group of officers of the Karnataka Khadi Gramodyog Samyukta Sangh (Federation) together with a number of khadi workers strongly appealed to the State government for rejuvenation of the khadi industry in the State. They even handed over a memorandum to the State Chief Minister in this regard.

Out of the 417 khadi units once operational in Karnataka, only 160 are functional today. These units are a source of livelihood for around 30,000 people, which include 20,000 women.

No financial incentives have been declared for the State's khadi industry since the Central Government discontinued offering financial assistance in the form of working capital to the industry in 1995.

After working for eight long hours, the weavers engaged in the khadi industry presently earn Rs. 30-40 at the end of the day, a sum not sufficient to support their living.

The weavers in the State have urged the government to quickly release the balance of Rs. 72.5 million that it owes towards providing rebate to buyers of khadi material.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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