BANGALORE: “More than 9,000 weavers from Karnataka alone have benefited from the Rs 3,884 crore waiver package given as handloom loans in the 2012 budget,” Union Minister of State for Textiles Panabaaka Lakshmi said on Saturday.
She was speaking after inaugurating an exhibition-cum- sale of artifacts at the Central Cottage Industries Emporium (CCIE) at M G Road on Saturday. Lakshmi, along with the Vice President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Rani Satish, inaugurated the exhibition.
The minister said that schemes such as the Gurushilpi Parampara have already been implemented for the artisans. The ministry has also held craft clusters in different parts of the country, according to her.
When asked if there are any steps being taken by the ministry to protect the interests of the silk weavers in Karnataka, she said that it would not be feasible to do anything for this section alone as she had to keep the entire community of weavers in mind, but such sentiments were understandable.
Commissioner for Textiles and Director of Textiles, D A Venkatesh who was chief guest on the occasion said, “Our products are hand-made and traditional, so it is crucial for the weavers that we showcase their work. Such exhibitions and marketing through them is very important for the growth of any industry.”
Handloom and home decors crafted in indigenous style by artisans from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh were on display.
H G Srinivas, an artisan who specialises in block printing with synthetic and natural dyes demonstrated the technique of block printing on fabrics, said, “We work with just 50 printing blocks and generate over 500 designs.”
According to Rani Satish, with more options when it comes to education and choosing a desired profession, it has become difficult to retain the younger generation of artisans. “In ten years, we may not have any weavers left. The new generation of weavers are leaving their family profession and are switching over to other occupations. More than giving incentives, the government needs to do something just to retain our weavers’ section,” she said.