Solar lanterns for Ganjam weavers still living in darkness

Berhampur: With power supply yet to be restored in many parts of Ganjam district hit by twin natural calamities of cyclone Phailin and flood, Odisha government has begun distributing solar lantern to weavers in the district.
The solar lanterns will help the weavers carry on with their work with most of them reeling under darkness after the cyclone devastated the power sector in the district.
Other components of the package will also be offered to the weavers of Ganjam district, official sources said.
As part of the package, 151 weavers' families got solar lanterns at a programme at Padmanavpur under Digapahandi block in the district yesterday.
Similar functions will be held at Hinjili and Berhampur from tomorrow, assistant director of textiles, Berhampur Upendra Kumar Debata said.
Distribution of solar lanterns is a part of the Chief Minister?s special package for the weavers of the state. The package, which was announced in March last, targets to cover all the weavers? families in four years.
?The government, however, decided to implement the package this year in Ganjam district as the weavers were hit hard in the natural calamities,? Debata said.
As part of the other components, the state government will bear the insurance premiums of the beneficiaries under the health insurance scheme and Mahatma Gandhi Bunakar Bima Yojana (MGBBY) and provide Rs 45,000 to them in three phases for construction of workshed.
Annual premium of the beneficiaries is Rs 50 and Rs 80 under the health insurance and MGBBY respectively.
Under the MGBBY scheme, of the annual premium of Rs 330, the contribution of central government is Rs 150, weaver's share Rs 80, while Rs 100 will be borne by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
The handloom sector in the district was severely hit by the natural calamities with 280 out of 1000 handlooms reportedly damaged, house collapse and yarn worth around Rs 26 lakh soaked in rainwater, according to the preliminary report prepared by the textile department.