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Khadi Board’s sub-centre has very few weavers left

Staff Reporter

Earlier the centre had around 40 ‘Nepali looms’ alone

—Photo: M. Govarthan

GONE ARE THE DAYS: Khadi Board’s Mungilpatty centre supports fewer weavers today than it did in its initial days.

ANTHIYUR: Tamil Nadu Khadi Board’s sub-centre in Mungilpatty village, near here, wears a rather deserted look.

There are no spindles, looms and weavers. Guarding the campus with two big work sheds is a board worker, who supervises the operations.

The sub-centre, started in the late 1970s, is expected to help handloom weavers by providing regular work. At present, the centre provides work to just five weavers to weave cotton-polyester fabrics.

It also supports three weavers who weave in ‘Nepali looms’, which are pedal-operated handlooms. The board gave the looms to Dalits under a THADCO scheme. These looms that were earlier at the centre have now been handed over to the weavers, so that they weave at their residences, as the cotton-polyester weavers do.

Each of the eight weavers weaves about 1,000 m of fabric a month, for which they get wages at Rs. 86 for every 10 m of cloth. The fabrics are sent to the board’s godown in Tirupur, from where they are sent for further processing.

Earlier, the centre had around 40 ‘Nepali looms’ alone. The number of cotton-polyester weavers too was equally good, if not better. And, in short, the centre had a good, robust weaving activity.

Sources in the board say as time passed by the number of those engaged in weaving, in both the segments, dwindled to the present eight. As far as the ‘Nepali loom’ weavers go, things did not work well right from the beginning.

Other reasons they cite are shortage of labour, migration of weavers to neighbouring Tirupur for higher wages and the delay in processing yarn before weaving.

As far as the last reason goes, they say it takes four days to warp the yarn and another three to weave.

The board, sources say, however, has plans to revive the sub-centre. The shed that once housed the ‘Nepali looms’ is free, where they plant to have a warping unit to help the weavers.

Proposals regarding that are under consideration and soon the board will come up with schemes to revive the centre.

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