BAGALKOT: Markand from Ilkal has been struggling to make ends meet post the outbreak of second wave of coronavirus.
“I have stopped weaving temporarily as prices of the fabric have dropped in the market,” he says. The Covid-induced lockdown for two consecutive years has worsened the condition of thousands of weavers, whose livelihood is dependent solely on weaving.
Ilkal sarees and blouse pieces produced in Guledagudda are world-famous and Maharashtra is the biggest market for both the fabrics.
Iranna M (48), a weaver from Guledagudda, said, “The situation has turned grim as many weavers are struggling to sell their product. The lockdown has affected the production and a huge unsold inventory has piled up with many weavers. Prices of raw materials have gone up but prices of blouses have reduced in the market. We are forced to sell our products at a loss.”
“Members of Charka, a non-profit organisation, are helping us market blouse pieces online. It is helping a few weavers to run their family in this difficult time. There is zero help from the government to weavers in this time of health crisis. Many weavers are planning to shut units as there is no future for this profession,” said weaver Iranna.
Ravindra Kalaburagi, senior member of Shankrambari Weavers’ Cooperative Society, pointed out that, “The state government has assured that it will directly purchase sarees from weavers and give it to frontline workers but nothing has been done till date. The state government has completely ignored weavers in the recen Covid relief package. Even the textile minister is least bothered to visit us or hear our grievances. If the government fails to come to act, we will stage an indefinite protest after the lockdown.”