Rise in the price of raw materials like the tusser and silk yarn poses serious threat to the Rs 170-crore handloom industry in Orissa and the livelihood of about one lakh weavers engaged in the sector.
The handloom products of Orissa, having their roots in the state’s rich heritage and culture, have received wide appreciation across the country and abroad for their highly artistic design, colour combination, super craftsmanship and long durability.
But this industry now faces serious problems with the prices of the raw materials going up sharply in the last few moths.
The price of silk yarn has more than doubled from Rs 1600 to Rs 3300 per kg in the last six months. Similarly, the price of cotton yarn has surged many folds. The weavers and cooperative societies generally procure silk yarn from Bangalore and Malda in West Bengal. The rise in the prices of the raw materials like cotton and silk yarn has led to rise in the prices of the finished products.
“We are going to increase the prices of our products shortly and the managing board of our society has given its consent to this”, said the secretary of the Berhampur Cotton and Silk Weavers Cooperative Society Limited, J.Prakash Rao. In Berhampur, there are three weavers’ cooperative societies producing Berhampur patta, an unique pattern of silk saries.
Meanwhile, the weavers have urged their respective societies to increase their wages. The weavers now get an average of Rs 900 to weave a peace of patta. They have demanded 25 percent hike in the wages.
Gopal Chandra Meher, the secretary of the Jagat Janani Weavers’ Cooperative Society, Bolangir said, they have raised the price of the handloom products recently.
The price hike has affected their sales with the people opting for cheaper powerloom products. He demanded that the government should come forward to help the weavers.