Madurai (Tamil Nadu) [India], July 4 (ANI): The local handloom industry of Tamil Nadu, traditional 'Kandangi' saree, made from silk threads have suffered great loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The life of Madurai weavers, ever since the first lockdown of COVID-19, has been disrupted.
Urging the government to take the initial step towards the fulfillment of the weaver's community, and to take them out from the financial crisis, Ramanathan, a weaver said, "Earlier, we used to get sales from foreign and local tourists. But now due to the pandemic, there is no sale. We request the government to help our weaver community."
He also added that the tourists came to them as a part of the heritage site visit. "The prices of raw material to the finished goods have increased, first because of imposition of GST and now because of COVID-19. Our survival has become very difficult," he said.
"We have been making Kandangi saree for three generations now. In 2016, the government provided GI tags for these sarees. 5 per cent GST has been levied on the handloom industry. We are unable to pay this tax. The government should help us to buy yarn without tax because our industry has been severely affected due to the pandemic," Venkat Raman, a weaver said.
Highlighting the plight of the industry, Annaporani, a tour guide said, "These workers have been working for over three generations now, and their work is famous worldwide. The situation is so dire presently, that I request the government and all others to do something for them, even if it means rising funds through NGOs."
Other weavers also added that the survival of the industry, and the weavers individually, is getting harder by the day. They have requested the government to take an initiative to help.
Sivagami, a weaver said, "Our industry has been affected due to the COVID-19 curfew, and even a profit of 200 rupees a day is not available. The government should help us."
Further adding, Rajandran a weaver said, "My family has been in the weaving business for generations. But for over the last two years, our industry has suffered greatly. We are losing our livelihood and suffering so much."
Fearing that the future generations won't continue the traditional business, he said, "We are having a hard time without business because of coronavirus. The government should subsidise us. I don't know if this industry will survive after my generation because my children are looking for a different job. The government should give necessary assistance to the weaving industry, at least for as long as this generation exists." (ANI)