Rajanna-Sircilla: At a time when the textile industry in the country is facing a crisis due to the second wave of the Covid pandemic, the weavers at Sircilla are fully employed, thanks to Bathukamma sarees. In a bid to provide continuous employment and ensure better incomes, orders for Bathukamma sarees are being given to Sircilla weavers for the last few years. This year, an order worth Rs 350 crore was placed to produce one crore sarees of 300 varieties by September 15.
However, weaving has not picked up momentum due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, with shortage of labour being a bigger problem this year. While about 10,000 people, including power loom workers, Asamees, gumastas, pre-loom operators and auto trolley operators would be involved in the production usually, this time around only 5,000 labourers have been engaged in the job.
As a result, only 8,000 power looms are working against the 12,000 looms required to reach the target. Labourers belonging to other States are staying away from weaving due to the Covid pandemic. While a few workers have been engaged in the job, a majority of them went back to their native States.
On the other hand, labourers from other parts of the State are also staying away from weaving. Also, the production process has started late due to a delay in the transportation of raw material. As a result, only 70 to 80 lakh metres of cloth was produced as against the 40 crore metres of cloth required to manufacture one crore sarees.
In order to push the weaving activity, district Handlooms and Textiles Department officials are regularly monitoring the situation and supplying face masks and sanitisers to labourers. The power loom operators were also instructed to arrange meals at work for the labourers and extend all the necessary support to them if they are infected with Covid.
Speaking to Telangana Today, Polu Shankar, Max Presidents’ Association secretary, informed that they are yet to start work in a full-fledged manner. “Shortage of labourers as well as raw material has become a major problem. If we went to shops to purchase material, we have to wait in queue for hours together. Sometimes, we are unable to purchase material since shops are being closed early. As a result, work has been delayed,” he said.
Assistant Director, Handlooms and Textiles, Ashok Rao attributed the delay in works to the shortage of labourers. While some weavers were infected by Coronavirus, labourers from other States went to their native places. Workers from other parts of the State are also not attending work, he said and expressed confidence to pick up the weaving process after lockdown.
Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.