The Chirala handloom industry is famous for producing its invincible variety of fabrics which brought name and fame not only to the State but also to the nation.


The Chirala Cluster is situated on Bay of Bengal where 'CHIRA' means Saree. Commonly known as 'Mini Mumbai' for its textile market, the Chirala cluster is located in 'Prakasam' district of Andhra Pradesh. Around 25000 weavers of the total weavers are working on 18000 handlooms. Chirala cluster weavers are classified as independent weavers, kooly weavers, shed weavers and master weavers. This area is famous for its production of traditional varieties of zari sarees and dhotis which is limited for local market. The "Real Madras handkerchiefs" is being manufactured with art silk and zari (metallic thread glittering like gold) on jacquard looms and exported to African countries. The improvement in the living conditions of the weaver is the result of introduction of this exportable variety and its popularity in the weavers of this area has also contributed in earning foreign exchange to the nation. The cloth is attracting the consumers in foreign countries because of its attractive and glittering design and texture. The "Real Madras Handkerchiefs" variety is also being manufactured in the countries like Bangladesh and China. The quality of the fabric will not give any anomalous odour to the cloth because of the climatic conditions maintained during the process of dyeing.


Products


The products of the Chirala cluster are sarees, dress material, Real Madras Handkerchiefs, lungies, shritings, handkerchiefs etc.

Product

Percentage
Sarees 60%
Dress Material 20%
Real Madras Handkerchief 10%
Others 10%


Sarees are broadly categorized in to three varieties:
  • Ordinary cotton sarees ranges from Rs.180 to 350

  • Seiko sarees ranges from Rs. 600 to 1500

  • Kuppadam (Gadwal type) sarees varies from Rs.1400 to 2200

The Cluster scheme


Cluster scheme is a key for empowering handloom weavers and enhancing their capacity to sustain global competition with self-reliance. It has helped in facilitating collection of handloom weavers and service providers for procurement, production, and marketing to promote sustainable growth and diversification. It provides common infrastructure for development of handloom cluster in holistic manner for participative decision making. This has also been an encouraging convergence of assistance and support services for optimum utilization of resources for betterment of the livelihood and quality of life of handloom weavers.

Problems


Problems create problems unless they are identified. Here are some problems that are faced by the cluster


  • High cost of procurement of raw material & inputs, non availability of funds for technical up gradation.
  • Lack of knowledge of consumer needs.
  • Low return of income due to active middle man
  • Low wages
  • Stagnation of stock and sufficient work may not have.
  • Integration is very less among SMEs
  • Low margins and fewer wages.
  • High Cost of Production and fewer profits.
  • Lack of innovative designs and market linkages

Facility available


There is no Challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve you. And this is what this cluster has been constantly trying to do. The products produced in the Chirala cluster have good market potentiality both in the domestic and overseas market.


Fibre2fashion.com has taken the initiative to talk to Mr. K. Jagadeeshwara Rao, CDE, Chirala Handloom Cluster. He tells us about the facilities provided to the weavers "Government has supplied raw materials by keeping corpus fund at NHDC and supplying yarn, dyes and chemicals, zari etc at Mill Gate Scheme, Loom (Rs.8000/-), Jacquard (Rs.6000/-), Dobby (Rs.4000/-), loom accessories (Rs.2000/-) with 90:10 Government and Beneficiary contribution, Margin money of Rs.6000/- to each weaver with 90:10 Government and Beneficiary contribution. Government has established Common Facility Centre with 100% grant by Government of India and Dye House with 80:20 Government and Beneficiary contribution. They have also supplied new designs and samples by engaging a NIFT qualified designer. Skill up-gradation training programs Iike weaving, dyeing, designing and management etc. for weavers and master weavers, financing the weavers through banks, work shed for Rs.25000/- to the needy weavers with 100% grant by Govt. of India, organisation of exhibitions, participation in HL EXPO's, Craft Mela's, National and International exhibitions, linkage of marketing agencies to the cluster etc. for marketing development and good price for the cluster products, linkages with Business Development Organizations to the cluster are some other major conveniences".


The important schemes implemented for this cluster are:-

  • Integrated handloom village development scheme:
  • Project Package Scheme
  • Health Package Scheme
  • Handloom Development Centre
  • Quality dyeing unit
  • Bunakar Bheema Yojana
  • Artisan Credit Card Scheme

Mr. Rao gives an idea about Pre and Post Intervention program by stating, "After the implementation of the cluster development program the weavers and master weavers are very much aware of all the schemes of State and Central Government, since the number of awareness programs have been conducted during the cluster development program."


On asking about Government's think-about for the Cluster Mr. K.Jagadeeswara Rao says, "The Government is taking all the measures for the upliftment of handloom industry. The Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Program is being implemented at present by the Government of India (Development Commissioner of Handlooms). This program provides all the basic needs of the Handloom industry. Implementation of welfare activities like Health Insurance Scheme, Mahatma Gandhi Bhima Bhunakar Bhima Yojana Scheme, and Establishment of Natha Bazaars for marketing etc." He adds by saying, "The weavers and master weavers are satisfied to some extent. In the weavers point of the view the government schemes means, they are expecting financing assistance from the government and also procurement for their production of stocks. (Assured marketing linkage)."

Conclusion


The emergence of the cluster is credited to the competent weaving skills possessed by the weaver. The Government has trained the artisans to improve their technical skill in the co-operative fold through several projects and schemes. Constant efforts are made for loom rejuvenation and skill enhancement to benefit all artisans in the industry.