Himachal: Stoppage of subsidy on woollen yarn to put weaving industry through the mill

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
  • Updated: May 09, 2015 19:40 IST

Already reeling under crisis for want of a proper policy, the state's weaving industry has been left high and dry in the wake of the union government stopping subsidy on woollen yarn.

Not only in Himachal Pradesh, even weavers of neighbouring states of Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, where weaving industry largely depends upon wool, also face an uncertain future.

Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP) Viplove Thakur, who recently raised the issue in the Parliament, while talking to Hindustan Times said there were about 22,000 weavers in Himachal alone, while the number in the two neigbouring states was much higher.

Besides, there were thousands of families who ran small looms at their homes, and weren't registered with any co-operative, he added.

"Stoppage of subsidy on woollen yarn will rob the weavers of their jobs, and affect their families, as most of them come from poor background," Thakur said.

She said the decision won't just have economic implications, but social too. "A large number of women in hill states rely on the weaving industry, and they would be the worst-hit from this move, and left idle," Thakur lamented.

Union government's All-India Handloom Board had announced 10% price subsidy on woollen yarn in addition to cotton and domestic silk yarn in February 2014.

However, after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government came to power in the Centre, the subsidy on woollen yarn was stopped, Thakur alleged, adding, "While subsidy is being given to silk and cotton yarn weavers in Varanasi - the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi - and his home state, Gujarat, it had been stopped on woollen yarn."

She added that it wasn't just an industry, but rich, cultural heritage of hill states, since weaving had been an occupation for centuries: "Government is bound to preserve this cultural heritage," the MP said.

It is worth mentioning that weaving industry in Himachal Pradesh is dependent on woollen yarn as silk and cotton are not locally available.

While Kullu valley remains a hub of weaving industry, in other districts - particularly Kangra and Chamba - the two districts dominated by the Gaddi tribe, it is a source of livelihood for many families.

The downward slide in the industry began in late 90s owing to increased competition, lack of promotion and market accessibility.

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