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Handloom societies in deep trouble

12
May '09
Shortage of working capital in the primary handloom societies in the district of Kollam is creating a very big crisis. These societies are finding it difficult to purchase yarn for weaving as well as to provide wages to the workers.

Due to crisis in the industry, the number of functioning societies slipped down to 20 from 150 over the years. The remaining primary handloom societies too are on the verge of closing.

This crisis also affects the number of workers employed in the societies. A society has only 10 to 12 workers today, which used to employ average of 50 to 75 workers earlier.

The top handloom society 'Hantex' refuses to procure the products of the primary societies because of the financial crisis. These primary societies are now depending upon the festival seasons to sell their products.

During the four festivals in the state, the government announces 20 percent discount for the handloom products, however, the Government owes the societies huge amounts as rebate dues, which comes to around Rs. 1.5 million in this district.

The Kollam Cooperative Spinning Mills has Rs. 0.7 to 0.8 million as outstanding dues from these primary handloom societies of the district; hence, they have also stopped supplying yarns to these societies.

The societies have also large out standings and unpaid dues with the PF and ESI, due to which the workers working in the societies are not able to access benefits. The societies were promised funds from the Central and State Governments to clear the PF and ESI dues.

However, the Industries Department officials refuse to remit the amount saying that the societies had not deposited the amount they had collected from the workers in these accounts. The societies will get fund only if they deposit that amount, which may not be possible for the societies those are struggling for existence.

The wage structure in the industry is very low as the daily wage of each worker is only Rs. 40 to 45, which was revised with a hike of Rs. 3 three years back. The workers in the industry are leaving the jobs on account of these low wages.

Primary Handloom societies are not getting any kind of financial support from the District Industries Centre. While the other parts of the state such as Kannur and Balarampuram handloom industry managed to get government funds even without engaging in production, as primary handloom societies here sell the products purchased from power looms.

Experts say that the primary handloom societies can survive only in case they are supported with working capital, arrangements for purchase of the yarn, facilities for the sale of product's produced by them as well as modernization of the industry.


Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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