Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With no support from the government, increase in cost of raw materials and distress sale, the traditional weavers in Ranpur area of Nayagarh are now staring at an uncertain future.

The popular handloom clothes prepared by the traditional weavers in the area have carved a niche across the country and the globe. However, it is being pushed into oblivion due to alleged neglect on part of the State government.

The thread of life is running out for the weavers in Ranpur. Being unable to make both their ends meet due to the low wages they earn from weaving, most of the weavers have left their traditional profession. While many of them have left the State to work as migrant workers, others are working as daily labourers to earn their living.

Take the case of Maninag Handloom Cooperative Society Limited where 150 weavers were working once upon a time. However, most of them have left the profession and only 25 weavers are continuing with the traditional work.

The society was established in 1954 with an aim to popularize the country made clothes and strengthen the profession of the weavers. However, the society is gradually losing its identity due to the shortage of raw materials.

“Most of the weavers have left the State to work as migrant workers. A weaver family could hardly manage Rs 150 per day where as a daily labourer is getting Rs 300 per day. It is very hard to make ends meet to work as a weaver,” said Jayanti Das, a lady weaver.

“The cost of raw materials has skyrocketed due to GST and other reasons. The cost of production has increased accordingly. It is very hard to make any profit from handloom products now. Moreover, the distress sale of handloom products has also made our life miserable,” said Parikhita Das, another weaver.

Though the new generation is not showing any kind of inclination for the profession, the State government claims that all support is being extended to the weavers.

“The number of weavers is declining as most of them have become old. We are trying to impart training to young people to attract them towards the profession,” said Karunakar Behera, Assistant Handloom Officer of Nayagarh district.

(Reported by Alok Moharana)