Lok Sabha Elections 2019| Will vote for party that can assure us of a livelihood, say voters
In an attempt to draw the government’s attention toward their miserable condition , the local weaver leader has written to the UP Government several times and met UP CM Yogi at Gorakhnath temple, but to no avail, he said.Updated: Apr 11, 2019 08:46 IST
Hindustan Times, Gorakhpur
For decades, ancestors of 60- year- old Yunus Ansari earned their livelihood by weaving beautiful sarees , bedsheets and other handmade items on traditional wooden handlooms, but several factors like low income, high cost of yarn , advent of powerlooms which are mostly owned by big businessmen, have forced him to run a tea shop outside his house in Humanyupur locality to support his family of six.
Upset over his miserable condition, he now wants a government which will improve the condition of his community . “We want a government that can at least assure us of a livelihood so that our children do not sleep on empty stomach, “ said Yunus said as he served tea to a customer. Humayunpurs’s Yunus is not the only one who will vote for the welfare of the weaver community in mind while voting on May 19.
Living in localities like Rasoolpur, Aambagh, Wazeerabad , Gorakhnath in large numbers for the last several decades, the poor Muslims belonging to the weaver community are struggling to meet ends these days. Several of them have taken up jobs like opening up tea and ‘pakoda’ stalls, pulling carts, or work as daily wagers in power looms. Besides, thousands have migrated to big cities like Mumbai , Delhi Kolkata and to Nepal as well.
Obaid-ur- Rahman, a cloth shop owner who belongs to the community said “ No party raises the problems of the weavers’ community. The condition is so bad that the number of suicides from the weaver community would have more been more than the farmers if suicide was not haraam ( not allowed) in Islam. At the age of going to school, children are working at shops while youths and girls of marriageable age are sitting at home as there is no money for marriage. The weaver community is likely to support the SP- BSP, but I will vote for candidate who can work for the uplift of the community.”
“Under the Congress government led by Veer Bahadur Singh efforts were made to improve the condition of Gorakhpur’s weavers . A new yarn producing unit was opened at Santkabeernagar ‘s Maghar and Gorakhpur to provide cheap yarn for weaving. These units are lying closed now, forcing the community to buy readymade yarn at a higher rate from the market , adding up to the cost. At that time, the finished handloom products were sold at government-run centres, but it is not the case today. With the advent of technology, poor weavers started working as labourers at minimum wages for power looms owned by capitalists. At present, each labourer is paid Rs 5 to 7 per metre that he weaves on the machine. He can weave a maximum of 50 metres a day, which amounts to Rs 350 per day,” said Mohammad Noor-ul-Huda Ansari, a local resident and weaver. He further added that backwardness in education has also blocked the progress of the community.”
In an attempt to draw the government’s attention toward their miserable condition , the local weaver leader has written to the UP Government several times and met UP CM Yogi at Gorakhnath temple, but to no avail, he said.
When contacted assistant commissioner Hatkargha Udyog Ram Badai said, “It is true that some of them have switched to other jobs due to insufficient wages, unavailability of raw material and other reasons but the government has always supported them through welfare schemes for their community. For instance, the power subsidy was about to end for looms but it was carried on. Under the Mudra Yojna, applications are being received from the community in large numbers. Recently, two weavers from Gorakhpur were felicitated by the government for outstanding work,” he said.
First Published: Apr 11, 2019 08:32 IST