GUNTUR: The temple town of Mangalagiri is best known for producing wonderful handloom sarees and other items but the handloom weavers community are shifting base after leaving their traditional profession in search of better livelihood because of fast-changing trends in this age of consumerism.
The handloom sector is an ancient cottage industry spread all over the State. Once the community followed its rich heritage but at present, the handloom sector is facing multiple problems on productivity and marketing fronts. Hence, weavers are facing severe livelihood crisis.
The handloom sector is an age-old and the largest sector among all cottage industries in the State. In terms of employment, it ranks only next to agriculture and providing a livelihood to more than 25 lakh people in the State. The sector has rightly been termed an art and craft sector. Vangara Venkata Lakshmiah, a weaver, said that there were a few independent weavers who made and sold sarees on their own. He said that only 3,500 families were following the traditional profession out of the 50,000 voters in the Mangalagiri municipal limits. Earlier, more than 15,000 families were in the weaving profession in the town.
Former Mangalagiri municipal Chairman and TDP leader Ganji Chiranjeevi said a majority of weavers are poor so they turned into goldsmiths in search of better earnings. He said that it was a boon for them and the community people’s earnings increased after they changed their profession. However, 3,500 families were dependent on their traditional profession, but the government was only making promises without allocating funds.
He lamented that TDP did not have a representative from the area in the Assembly to raise their voice and press the government to resolve the issues related to the handloom community.YSR Congress Party (YSRC) MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy said the government had allocated `200 crore in the budget for the welfare of the weavers’ community. He said CM Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy was aware of the problems of the community and would resolve them.