Fast for Reviving Handloom Sector

Handloom SectorPrasanna, theatre director and founder of Charka DESI Institute, has resorted to an indefinite fast at Gajendraghad in Gadag district of Gujarat to draw attention of the government to the plight of handloom weavers in the state.

“It has become a habit for every politician to talk about handloom and khadi, but they don’t put in efforts to revive the sector,” Prasanna said.

About 70 per cent of what is sold as Khadi are spurious products, those manufactured by power loom, he said.

Some 11 varieties of traditional fabric, including saris, dhotis, dhurries and woven coloured fabric are meant to be protected under the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985 that disallows mills from producing them. Unfortunately, that is not happening, Prasanna said. He urged the government to curb the sale of spurious handloom fabric. “Both handloom consumers and weavers are being cheated. Demand is growing for handloom products in the international market. India is the only country that can fulfill this demand because it has more handloom weavers than the rest of the world,” he said.

Centre should strictly implement the handloom law to end the production of spurious fabric so that handloom weavers can survive. He also wanted that the state government should purchase handloom fabric under Vidya Vikas Scheme.

Handloom forms only 11.5% of the textile production in the country, while power looms control 55% and mills produce just 3 per cent. 42 lakh families are depending on weaving in the country.

Earlier this year, Prasanna had held a 13-km walkathon from Gajendragad to Banashankari in Bangalore, crossing villages of Gadag, Koppal, Raichu and Bagalkot districts.

He said that being a worker in handloom sector, he has all the right to raise his voice in favour of the handloom weavers. “As spurious products are being sold in the name of handloom products, how can we tolerate this trend?” he asked.

As measures to revive the sector, Prasanna said government should purchase clothes as uniforms for its police, KSRTC and other departments. There is huge demand for handloom products from the young generation and globally, and that should be tapped, Prasanna added.

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