BELAGAVI: The weavers’ community of Belagavi is in the lurch, thanks to the Covid-induced lockdown. With the reduced demand for their produce, the community members are being forced to change their profession and opt for other ways of income. Some started selling vegetables while some are selling snacks.
There are over 25,000 power loom machines installed in the district, which manufacture the popular ‘Shahapuri sarees’. The weavers export sarees to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and other states.
After the lockdown was announced, merchants from other states cancelled consignments and weavers were pulled into a huge financial crisis. Weavers running on business loans were forced to sit at home, jobless. It was difficult for them to arrange money for two-time meals.
Shankar Nagappa Dhage (31), a weaver from Vadagon said, “I have to repay my loans and since there is no demand for handloom, machines are shut. I am working as a helper at construction sites and earning Rs 300 as daily wage. I have no other option left for survival.”