QUEEN'S ROAD: Thousands of powerlooms in Bengaluru are on the verge of shutting down following complaints from neighbours that they are too noisy.
People who have built houses next to old buildings housing looms have been registering complaints of sound pollution against them.
When the weavers started business, they were on the city’s outskirts, but those areas gradually became part of Bengaluru.
In many places, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has ordered looms to shut down.
“We don’t know where to go and what to do,” said C Banashankara, President of the Mysore Power Loom Silk Manufacturers’ Co-operative Society.
He said the Pollution Control Board had ordered BESCOM to stop power supply to powerloom units. Similarly, the board has told the BBMP not to renew their trade licences.
The BBMP has not renewed licences for three years now.
“The only option left is for owners, weavers and their families to migrate to other states,” Anand G, director of the Cooperative, told City Express.
Dhanajaya, who runs a powerloom unit near Dairy Circle, said neighbours had given a No Objection Certificate, but later complained.
“Pollution Control Board officials inspected our premises and found the sound level at 63 decibels. After a warning, the owners covered it with protective layers, and the level came down to 53 dB. But they are still complaining,” he said.
Bhojaraju V, who works at Lakshmi Narasimha Company in Sampangirama Nagar, said his family is totally dependent on his income. He has been a weaver for 30 years and his wages are `2,000 a week. “At this age, I cannot shift to a new profession,” he said.
Devaraj R, another weaver at Avenue Road, learnt the craft from his parents. Weaving has been an ancestral profession. “But I won’t allow my children to take it up. There is no hope in this profession,” he said.
At Magadi Road, about 2,200 people depend on weaving for a livelihood. Karna, who runs a powerloom unit here, said the Pollution Board’s orders were affecting many.
Those like Lohith Kumar moved from hand to power looms some years ago.
“It is unfortunate that they are telling us to shut down now,” he said.
K R Balachandra Kumar, owner of a powerloom unit at Saddugunte Palya, said he had to shut down one of his units in Koramangala after neighbours complained.
A shift may be the solution
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board Chairman Dr Vamanacharya said he sympathised with powerloom owners and weavers. “The sound level is about 55 dB at many places. We asked them to put some protective layers to muffle the sound,” he said. If the sound persists, the board asks them to shift. “Where neighbours are troubled, we write to the electricity board to stop supply,” he said. Some units use boilers, which are highly hazardous, in residential areas. This practice is seen in areas like Cubbonpet. “We ask such units to shift to non-residential areas,” he explained.