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Centuries old silk handloom industry in shambles
Sep '10
Dharmavaram silk sari is world-renowned for its elegance and beauty. But, steeply increasing costs of raw materials such as silk, wrap and dyes and competition from power-loom sector are posing threat for the handloom sector in Dharmavaram. Thousands of handloom weavers dwelling in this region are living in deprived conditions since the last few years'. .

Around 20,000 weaver families in and around Dharmavaram hardly earn average Rs 25 per day, as the middlemen and shopkeepers offer meager wages to these weavers involved in cottage industry. Weavers having handlooms manufacture silk saris procuring raw materials and sell them to the local merchants, while rests of them work in master weaver factories on daily-wage basis.

During past two years, the handloom industry witnessed harsh conditions with sudden rise in silk prices to Rs 2,450, affecting the production, and subsequently halting the weaving activity. During this period, sale of these saris witnessed fall from Rs 8.5 billion to Rs 7 billion in Dharmavaram. Moreover, demand plunge from Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam also led to export reduction of these saris.

According to experts, around 20 weaver families lose their livelihood due to one power-loom. And the government is not addressing weavers' plight, though the sector provides huge employment, next only to the agriculture sector.

Continuance of such a situation would snatch livelihood of a thousand of weavers halting the weaving activity on around 60,000 handlooms. Weavers in the region are urging the government to fulfill silk requirement by sourcing it from China, and to provide subsidized indigenous silk to handloom weavers.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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