Weaving is one of most ancient industries of India. It is main source of livelihood in the eastern up especially in Varanasi. The handloom product of Varanasi is very famous all over the world. Varanasi sarees are known as its patent.
However from last few years the conditions of weavers are deteriorating gradually. Now in present situation the children of weavers are dying due to malnutrition and starvation. So on one hand where India claims for growth of economy and development, on the other hand the starvation and malnutrition death of weavers and their children is the slap on India.
Recently on 15th December, 2008 Sri Ali Anwar Answari (MP) had raised the issue of starvation and malnutrition of weavers’ chidren and plight of weavers in Rajya Sabha during zero hour. He said that 9 children of weavers have died and 106 other children are the victim of malnourishment in the Dhannipur of Lohta Gram Sabha. 36 male and 31 female are suffering from TB in Kashi Vidyapith Block. However they get the medicine from government hospital but scarcity of nutrient engross them again in TB. He also demanded from the chairperson to abate the loan of weavers and other like craftsman and to protect the traditional occupation. He also said that the cloth minister Bhagela assured him to abate the loan of weavers and allow loan to them at 7%. But the tenure of this government is going to end but the assurance is not going to meet and the parliament is silent on the issue.
Earlier when the handloom industry was on boom the weavers were enjoying their life up to full amusement. Their entire products were sold like a hot cake. They got the proper wages and profit; even they were given advance amount for their product.
Mr Lenin Raghuvanshi informed national human right commission on in the beginning of this year about the plight of weavers and stated that weaving industry demolished because clothes are being imported from china at cheap rates. It is designed according to the latest fashions that attract the consumer to buy the imported clothes. But today the handloom weavers are living their life in hell. They are living on the pity of others. Now they are facing starvation. Their children are suffering from starvation. The weavers are selling blood and children to cope up with the situation. The hygienic condition of their colony is pathetic.
It has been demanded that government should promote the modernization of handloom sectors and living standard of weavers should be improved. The government should provide immediate assistance so that they can get rid of starvation. Thus the complaint sought intervention of the commission.
Immediately the commission took the cognizance and directed the DM Varanasi and the chief secretary UP for appropriate enquiry and action at his end. Pursuant to this the assistant director handloom Varanasi submitted that under 11th five year plan the weavers will be given training to raise their living standard and a provision for marketing export promotion scheme by the Indian government. A committee has been formed under the chairmanship of director kanpur along with ADM varansi and financial controller kanpur to solve the problem of weavers.
Due to liberation and global market the people tends to new era of fashion and availability of Chinese product in the market the market of traditional industry is falling down. Above all the power loom industry aids to ruin the traditional handloom industry.
Now in this era of crisis the inflation the things have become costlier and the wages of weavers have been decreased.
Government claims that it had launched many schemes for the welfare of weavers, but all of these require many formalities which the weavers can not met with. For example they have no BPL card as the administration says that they have house. Without BPL card they can not take benefit of any scheme. The weaver department (ADI) is like a close book which contains all schemes and benefits for the weavers but it is not open. So the weavers are not aware about these scheme and benefits as 90% weavers are illiterate. They are demanded bribes for health card, insurance etc. since their capacity is not worth for paying bribes, so they are deprived from these scheme.
Due to this reason the weaver could not be able to manage two meals a day. So the weavers are tending to adopt other profession. Some of them are pulling rickshaw, some are doing daily wages. Their women have to become maid servant and even their children are forced to domestic servant as well as hotel and dhaba.
Dr Darin a Srilankan Economist has presented plan for the revival of weaver through Varanasi Weaver’s Trust. He prepared his plan after visiting the weaver’s locality in Varanasi. His model is based on the revival model of French Wine and Srilankan Tea. He presented his model to Planning Commission of India. It is also in the knowledge of UP State Government, but no steps have been taken due to political reason and the plan can not be implemented.
The government has launched many schemes for the weavers and ADI handloom is the executor of these programmes. But making schemes is not enough real action must be seen on the ground. If the government really wants the welfare of weavers it should enforce the schemes properly and awareness amongst the weavers should be expanded to make them beneficial. Apart from this the government should fix the minimum price for the handloom product so that they may not be compelled to sale their product at the lowest rate. They should be provided market for their product and the broker should be extracted from market.