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Cheap Chinese fabric threatens Banarasi sarees
Jul '10
Influx of cheap Chinese replica of Banarasi sarees is taking toll on India's hand-woven Banarasi sarees and on the local weavers, by displacing them out of business, at a time when government is mulling to promote the item as a high-end niche product by registering it under the Geographical Indication (GI) scheme and the handloom mark.

Heap of Chinese fabric is being imported in to the country. Also, the machines to embroider sarees have been imported from China and Korea. The fabrics imported from China are being sold under the name, 'Banarasi sarees' with a price tag in the range of Rs 500-600. The government has been taking steps to register Banarasi saree and brocades as GI.

Such a registration will offer patent rights to Banarasi saree. But, these efforts would not prove to be meaningful unless the machine-made products are held in check. A hand-woven Banarasi saree requires at least a week to get finished with the minimum labour cost of over Rs 700. Therefore, the original Banarasi saree costs in the range of around Rs 1,800-2,000.

Unscrupulous Indian traders willing to make fast money are also responsible for such a threat to Banarasi sarees. Banaras has been declared as a mega cluster to spur handloom sarees and brocades for the export market. Local weavers can avail the incentives of these schemes if measures are taken to improve the production of genuine handloom items.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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