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Indian handlooms seek govt help to compete powerlooms
Sep '12
The traditional handloom sector of India, which is grappling against the challenges posed by the powerloom industry for survival, is now looking at the Government for help.
Saying that all that the Government needs to do is enforce laws to safeguard the industry, Mr. Mohan Rao, a member of the National Handloom Federation, called on the Government to enforce the Handloom Reservation Act of 1996, which reserves right of producing 11 clothing items like particular saris, shawls, bed sheets, etc. through handlooms only. 
Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Rao said the Federation has requested the Prime Minister to safeguard the handloom industry.
Mr. Rao said large-scale diversion of raw materials to powerlooms is causing severe shortage of raw inputs for several handlooms, as against its annual requirement of 620 million kg of yarn, the sector hardly gets 450 million kg of yarn, and is required to procure the rest from the retailers at high prices.
Mr. K Rajan of South Indian Handloom Weavers Organising Committee (SIHWO) expressed confidence that handlooms have the potential to satisfy the needs of the nation, but added that Government should provide handlooms with sufficient raw materials. 
He said it takes one whole day to produce just one dhoti by a handloom, while a powerloom produces 200 pieces in the same time. Moreover, there are always few buyers of handloom dhotis in the market, as these are costlier than those produced by the powerloom.
SIHWO has urged the Government to make provisions to allow Geographical Indication (GI) for handloom items and see to it that designs and prints of these items are not imitated by the powerlooms. 
For making sufficient raw material available to handloom weavers, Mr. Rajan said the enforcement wing functioning under the Development Commissioner of Handlooms can easily ensure adequate availability of raw inputs.
In order to sensitise the Central and the state governments towards the handloom industry, which serves as a source of livelihood for over 200 million people, the National Handloom Federation plans to hold nation-wide demonstrations together with SIHWO and the Handloom Protection Forum, during the next few months.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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