As the world observes National Handloom Day today, the weavers need more than just awards and felicitations. They need economic support. They need patronage in terms of market and skill development training.
Being deprived of government-launched schemes, the weavers are still living a life of deprivation and neglect. In their struggle to save the century-old craft, the weavers are slowly losing their source of income, thanks to the negligent attitude of the officials.
Even as the government has launched scores of schemes for the weavers, they are deprived of its benefits due to the inefficient officials.
In a glaring example is the plight of weavers at Kendupali village under Biramaharajpur block in Subarnapur district. At least 100 weaver families reside in this village. They have been into weaving since ages.
Even today, children and elderly people carry on the craft of their ancestors. However, with no house, solar lights and inverters, their plight seems to never end. Even as the sarees weaved by them have reached worldwide, their future seems grim.
Satyaban Meher, a veteran weaver of Kendupali village has been into this craft since decades. His grandfather and great grand fathers were into weaving, so is Satyaban and his father. Even after decades of hard work, his family has been deprived of basic facilities of a proper house, electricity and water facilities.
“Our situation is worse. We do not have a life. We only survive in this dilapidated condition with no help from the government,” lamented Satyaban.
“Like Satyaban, there are hundreds of weavers in similar condition. Things would have been different if they were not deprived of government benefits and provided with basic facilities,” Radha Charan Meher, another weaver said.
Similar is the condition of so many other weavers in the village.
The plight of weavers at Saranda village under Sohela block in Bargarh district is no different. Over 400 families of this village are into weaving since ages. While they toil day and night to make both ends meet, they hardly get paid enough for their hard work.
Lack of market, price rise of raw materials, and deprivation of government launched schemes are some of the major obstacles for these weavers.
When contacted, Handlooms, Textiles & Handicrafts Minister, Rita Sahu said, “CM Naveen Patnaik is taking all necessary steps to reach out to the weavers' families. The government will continue working towards the benefit of them.”