BHAWANIPATNA: The painstaking efforts and creativity of Chicheguda weavers make every Habaspuri saree produced here a special piece.
Mostly done in cotton, traditional designs of Kandha tribes like Kumbha (temple), fish and flowers are woven into the sarees.
Home to 30 weaver families, Chicheguda village has been instrumental in reviving the Habaspuri handloom which was originally woven in Habaspur village of Kalahandi district during the 19th century.
With the decline of dynasty rule, the pattern of weave too passed into oblivion. However, it was revived by master weaver Ugrasen Meher in Chicheguda. One of the many high profile people wearing the Habaspuri sarees includes Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Subsequently, the government formed the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society to look into training of weavers and marketing of the final products.
However, weavers of the village said even as steps have been taken to revive the Habaspuri weave, a lot more needs to be done for skill upgradation at regular intervals and providing marketing opportunities to them. They also demanded speeding up of the process for geographical indication, copyrights and design patent of the Habaspuri design which has already been delayed by over a year.
The Assistant Director of Textiles Lingaraj Rath said all formalities have been completed to grant the Geographical Index registration to the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society.
He said the department is contemplating to provide crash courses to weavers in producing products in Habaspuri design like bed spreads, table mats apart from saree.
There are also plans to improve weaving methods to increase the productivity. Rath added that all possible steps are being taken to popularise the traditional fabric.