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High interest causes misery for handloom weavers in AP

May '07
A Koteshwar Rao, MD, APCO
Government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) is keen to better the picture of handloom weavers of the State as it has instructed all departments to purchase cloth from Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society Ltd (APCO) for their requirement of uniform cloth.

Disregarding the above directions, some of the departments follow tender procedures and purchase cheaper mill made cloth. Therefore, Hon'ble Chief Minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy called a meeting on April 30, 2007 and directed them to purchase only handloom cloth. In case a department faced insuffcient budget then it can seek raise through supplementary budget.

Speaking exclusively to fibre2fashion, A Koteshwar, Managing Director, APCO said that there are 2,64,812 handloom weavers in AP and 58,258 weavers covered under cooperative fold.

He said that the past or present schemes to support the weavers are not flexible as the entire package has to be taken. Thus, there is no freedom for the weaver to take a part of the package.

Adding to their woes are money lenders, master weavers and Cooperative Managements which act as middle men or party and deny passing the entire benefit of the scheme to the weavers.

High interest burden has suppressed the growth of weavers. However, Government is taking steps to alleviate plight of weavers by disbursing loans through Cooperative Banks at 9.5 percent interest. They are also provided with housing schemes and supply of looms, accessories, pensions for old people, group insurance and health insurance, thrift and marketing assistance.

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