Govt says 'saree' to weavers

Will buy most of sarees for Bhagyalakshmi mothers from them

Govt says 'saree' to weavers

The government, which had decided to purchase the entire consignment from Surat in Gujrat, has given to demand from weavers’ associations in north Karnataka that polyester sarees manufactured by them in power looms be bought. The Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation (KHDC) put forward the weavers’ demand before the government.

The government had planned to distribute the sarees, that will carry the legend ‘Bhagyalakshmi Yojane’ on October 14, but the programme was postponed in the wake of recent political upheaval in the state. The next date is yet to be decided, as also the colour and design of the sarees.

In an unusual and intriguing move, the government has allowed Rachana Group of Industries, a Surat company to supply the sarees without the mandatory tender process, thus bypassing the Karnataka Transparency Act.

Of the 10.68 lakh sarees to be procured, weavers in the State will supply maximum number sarees that can be produced before launching of the programme, while the rest would be procured from Rachana Group. The KHDC will procure and supply the sarees to taluks, where they will be given away to the women entitled. Weavers’ associations and local people’s representatives in Belgaum, Bagalkot, Rabakavi, Gadag and have been holding meetings with weavers on availability of sarees.

The government constituted a five-member committee headed by Principal Secretary of Cooperation Department Amitha Prasad to select sarees. The committee visited Surat and zeroed in on Rachana Group of Industries as supplier.

A government order dated October 15, issued by the Department of Women and Child Development, said sarees produced by weavers in the State would be purchased at Rs. 225 a piece, against Rs. 195 each for the Surat sarees.

“Our native weavers are willing to fulfil the total requirement. But 10.68 lakh sarees can’t be manufactured in a week or 15 days’ time”, M D Lakshminarayana, Chairman of Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation, said.

The weavers are demanding a price higher than fixed by the government. Ramesh, a weaver from Belgaum, said the cost of polyester had gone up by Rs 100 per kg recently. The price for saris fixed by the government was insufficient.

Highlights

* Sarees will be polyester.
* 10.68 lakh sarees to be procured.
* Cost of sarees from Surat - Rs 195 each.
* Cost of sarees weaved by weavers in the State - Rs 225 each.
* Rs 20 crore released as advance to KHDC, the procuring agency.
* The distribution likely to be an annual affair.

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