Poll reason for hurried saree spectacle

Govt reneges on promise to buy from local weavers and gets sarees from Gujarat firm

It has no time to wait for weavers of Karnataka to sell their sarees. The apparent reason is the fast approaching elections to the local bodies.

Before the election dates are notified, which is likely to happen anytime, the government wants to distribute as many sarees as possible.

More than 70 per cent of sarees required to distribute to mothers of girls covered by the Bhagyalakshmi scheme beneficiaries are purchased from the Surat-based Rachana Group of Industries in Gujarat, while local weavers’ plea to provide them with orders has gone unheard. The total number of sarees required is 10.68 lakh.

Costly affair

According to Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation Ltd, the procuring agency, only 2.57 lakh sarees had been purchased from local weavers till Monday evening, while more than 7.5 lakh sarees were purchased from Rachana Group.

A saree from Surat costs Rs 195 and those from local weavers vary from Rs 190 to Rs 225 each, depending on quality.

False promise

Minister for Women and Child Development C C Patil and KHDC chairman M D Lakshminarayana had promised local weavers that priority would be given to local weavers while purchasing sarees.

The regional office of KHDC in Hubli rejected the offer from many weavers to sell their products. Many MLAs and leaders of weaver commuity had complained to the KHDC chairman against the attitude of the officers. The chairman had brought these complaints to the notice of the KHDC Managing Director through an official note, a copy of which, is available with Deccan Herald.

Terdal MLA Siddu Savadi (BJP) said that thousands of weavers in his constituency produce cotton sarees, which had demand across the country. But the government did not purchase the sarees because the weavers demanded at least Rs 260 per sari.

“Cotton sarees cost higher than polyester sarees. The government should procure from local weavers instead of companies in other States”, he said.

In its hurry to distribute the sarees well before the State Election Commission announces dates for Zilla and Taluk Panchayats, the government directed KHDC to buy the required number of sarees by November 15. The KHDC is expected to procure another 40,000 sarees from local weavers increasing their total share to three lakhs. In order to fulfil the requirement the officers prefer to purchase from the Surat firm rather than the local weavers. 

Lakshminarayana said corporation could not procure maximum business to local weavers, because the government insisted purchase of sarees be completed in a short duration. From next year, local weavers will get a priority, he said.

Local sarees are Mamata’s favourites

Cotton sareess from Udupi are a favourite with Union Minister Mamata Banerjee. She prefers only hand woven light weight white cotton saris with pale purple border.

Priyadarshini Handlooms of Kolkata used to buy saris for the Deedhi, from Hyderabad. But with supplies not being available recently, Priyadarshini has placed orders with Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation for sarees. The Corporation has entrusted the saree weaving to Harishchandra Shettigar of Shirva, Udupi.

He, his wife Saraswathi and other family members are busy in weaving the drapes. The Shettigars sent four sarees to Priyadarshini in August. Satisfied with the quality, Priyadarshini has placed orders for 300 more. The Shettigars have handful of work for next six months, thanks to Mamata.

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