Kendrapara, August 24 (LocalWire): The weaver community from Kendrapara is staring at huge losses due to the uncertainty over Durga Puja this year and the cancellation of many marriages caused by COVID-19.
After community-level Ganesh Puja in pandals was not allowed this year by the authorities, Durga Puja and Laxmi Puja too may not be held, causing worry for the weaver community.
The Puja Committees have been directed not to begin any advance preparations regarding the celebration of Durga Puja.
“My entire family is involved in the business of making sarees, lungis and towels. Every year, there used to be a huge demand for clothes before the Durga Puja, for which we would be very busy three-four months prior.
“This time around, the weavers are unsure whether to prepare the clothes or not as the Government has not made clear whether the Durga Puja will be celebrated or not,” said Mukul Sahoo, a weaver of Korua village under Garadapur block.
Weaving is the main occupation of around 5000 weavers from Korua, Haripur, Kalaboda, Dihasahi, Talakusama, Lankapoda, Palasudha, Kauadiabarei, Pundal, Kuseipala and other villages of the district.
“COVID-19 has created a lot of problems for our business. We used to supply saree, lungi, towels and bedsheets to Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and other parts of the state.
We used to receive orders from many cloth merchants two to three months prior to Durga Puja, but this time, we have not received any so far,” said Srikant Nayak, the president of Mangala Tantubaya Sahajoga Samiti of Korua.
“As many weddings are being cancelled or toned down due to COVID-19, we have suffered huge losses to our business this year,” said Sushil Kumar Sahoo, a weaver of Kalaboda.
“We will die of hunger in the coming days as we have no other means of livelihood to feed our families,” said Sasmita Sahoo, a weaver of Kalaboda while weaving a saree in her house.
When contacted, Debajit Nandi, the Deputy Director of the textile department said, “The state government recently announced a grant of Rs. 15 crores for Boyanika and one crore to Odisha Tusser Federation SERIFED (Odisha Cooperative Tassar & Silk Federation Limited), to purchase products from the weavers and hence mitigate their plight due to COVID-19.”