Berhampur, June 10 (LocalWire): The leaders of the weaving community met the new minister of state for handloom and textile and appraised her about the poor condition of the weavers and how the next generation was deserting the age-old profession and moving away.
T. Gopi, president, All Odisha Devanga Mahasangh, federation of the traditional weavers’ community and others met Padmini Dian while she was on her way to her constituency Kotpad in Koraput district.
They urged her to implement the ‘adarsh handloom village’ near Silk City, which the government was considering since two years.
‘We demanded a weavers’ village on the outskirts of the town for last several years and to provide patta to the homeless weavers,’ said Gopi.
He urged the minister to expedite their demand.
The traditional weavers could not practice on handlooms since a majority of them were homeless, said Krishna, another leader of the community.
‘I will discuss with the department and explore the existing schemes of weavers to train the younger generations on handlooms and to ensure they get a remunerative price,’ the first-time minister assured.
Dian stressed on training the youngsters to learn weaving with the latest technology to keep alive their traditional profession.
K Ramulu, a 60-year old weaver from Nuapada in Ganjam district’s Chikiti block said he discouraged his son to take up their traditional profession after struggling with meager wages. His 30-year old son, a graduate, is now working in a private company at Chennai to support his family.
‘Our traditional family occupation will become a dying art, after I retire since he has given up the profession,’ said Ramulu. He said he will not force his son to take up such a profession where the money earned after so much hard work doesn’t suffice even the daily necessities.
It’s not an isolated story of the weaving community in the district.
Several children of weaver families in the district, which was once proud of its handloom products are not interested to continue their traditional occupation.
‘Working in spindles throughout the day, our parents earn only Rs 8000 to Rs 9000 per month which is not even bare minimum to maintain a family with,’ said P Satynarayan, of Berhampur.
‘I don’t want to take up our age-old profession anymore,’ he added.
As more and more weavers families are reportedly dissociating themselves from their traditional occupation due to multi-pronged challenges and lack of government support, the bustling silk handloom sector in Ganjam district, is on its way to become a dying art.
People associated with it are migrating to other states to earn livelihood, the leaders of weaving community alleged.