HYDERABAD: It has been a favourable season for the Pochampally Ikkat weavers in the state with the city hosting global events one after the other. One of the quite well-known weavers, Beemanapally Venkatesham, who, along with his craftsmen, is working relentlessly to meet a deadline of making 200 Pochampally Ikkat shawls ahead of the Prapancha Telugu Mahasabhalu, however, feels that the weavers hardly benefit from the boom.
It was Venkatesham’s Pochampally Ikkat shawl that was used to felicitate prime minister Narendra Modi not once but twice, and India women’s cricket team captain Mithali Raj on her successful world cup feat. Working from a two-bedroom house and an adjoining shed that doubles up as his handloom workshop, Venkatesham has supplied 130 shawls last month and is to deliver another 70 before Monday.
Weavers like him, he says, who are given sub-contracts by persons who bag the government orders, procure silk yarn for as much as `20,000 for 4 kg. This is on credit basis and comes at an interest of 3 per cent. A yarn of 4 kg is sufficient for weaving 14 shawls, indicating that he requires 57 kg of yarn to meet his order. For instance, each of such shawl requires 2,664 threads of 100 inches long and 3,300 threads of 37 inches wide.
His younger brother, Vanam Bhaskar (42), an MBA,, points out that it takes an entire day to prepare the yarn by tying-and-dying colours and another whole day to weave them into attractive shawls. According to the weavers, none of the promises made by the government for the benefit of weavers has been kept.