THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chandrika is a weaver who has a loom at her house near Balaramapuram. She is the sole bread winner for a family of four, including her husband who is a cancer patient, her son and daughter. She has been working at the loom since when she was a teenager. However, with the decline of the industry, she finds it hard to eke out a living with lesser job opportunities.
The most important issue weavers like her face is the delay in getting wages when they sell their products to the handloom society. Hence, they resort to selling products to private parties at cheaper rates to make the ends meet, despite various programmes initiated by the government to promote handloom products.
“The maximum amount we can earn by selling our products to the society is around Rs 9,000, that too if we work continuously for a month. However, there will be a delay in getting our payment credited to our account, which often lasts for several months. Hence, we sell products at cheaper rates to private buyers to get the money instantly,” she said. She is currently engaged in weaving uniform material for a society. She also has some orders from private buyers.
Jayan, a handloom weaver and seller of handloom products to wholesalers in Balaramapuram, has 60 looms. He prefers to sell his products to private buyers. “There is a wide disparity in the rate at which handloom societies and private parties buy our products. But to move our work forward, we need money. Though active promotion work is being undertaken and new markets are opened, a concentrated effort is needed to bring the benefits to the grassroots level,” said Aravind, Jayan’s son who runs the looms now.
Jaya, a textile shop owner here, purchases from the looms directly than from the wholesalers. “it is cheaper to purchase directly from the looms. Also, these products have a targeted group except when it comes to ‘mundu’. The products are always purchased in limited numbers. The quality factor also plays a role in this,” she said.
The quality of products is based on the investment being made from the looms. The lack of wages from the societies and lesser amounts paid by the private sector propel them to use cheaper raw materials.