COIMBATORE:The handloom workers of Seeranaickenpalayam, once the fame of the city, have been weaving losses for the last couple of years, forcing many to quit the profession due to debt.
There were over 5,000 weavers in Seeranaickenpalayam 20 years ago. However, the situation totally turned in the past couple of years, as the weavers couldn’t eke out a livelihood with the profession, and the present total number would not exceed 200.
Shortage of manpower, poor wages, lack of government support are the reasons put forth by weavers for the change in their fortune.
“For weaving a sari, we have to spend Rs 50 for raw materials, added to the labour charge for other work like rolling of silk, aligning the silk material in such a way to create designs, etc. It takes two days to weave a sari. For one sari, we get Rs 450, and it takes two days of manpower to earn this Rs 400. This is a rough figure, and most of the time we don’t get even Rs 300 for a sari,” said Ramakrishnan, a weaver.
“I get Rs 500 to Rs 600 as daily wage on sundry jobs, and I can take leave whenever I want to. Now, my family is happy and we are leading a happy life. When I was in the weaving profession, there were days when my family did not have food,” said Senthil Kumar (28), son of a weaver.
However, there are many traditional weavers who cannot even think about quitting the profession, and they continue to stick to the profession. “We don’t know any other work except weaving. I was born in a family of weavers, and grew up hearing the rhythm of the loom all the time. I cannot even think of a life without weaving. I am in debt, but that won’t stop me from weaving,” said Venkatachalam, a 70-year-old weaver from Seeranaickenpalayam.
The weavers demanded that the government take some steps to save the sinking industry.