Weavers demand waiver of loan

The Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation has demanded the State government waive loans to the tune of Rs 18 crore taken by weavers in the State.

Addressing a press meet here on Wednesday, the members of the Corporation alleged that the government had not acted on its promise to write off the debts of weavers.
The members sought setting up of weavers’ co-operative banks in all districts so that the community could avail loans at low interest rates.

“The government had promised us to give orders for school uniforms to be distributed to schoolchildren. However, sacrificing the interests of the local weavers, the orders were placed with handloom co-operatives in Rajasthan,” alleged L R Ananth, a member of the Corporation.

Irregularities alleged

He said the weavers would have got a business of Rs 180 crore if the order was placed with them. He alleged that the Education department had received kickbacks from firms in Rajasthan and hence the order was placed with them.

“More than 35 MLAs in North Karnataka have been elected because of the support of the weavers’ community and the leaders have forgotten their voter base after coming to power,”he alleged.

The members demanded that a CBI inquiry be conducted into the irregularities alleged to have taken place during the tenure of Madan Gopal, former managing director of the Corporation. Ananth said the Corporation suffered a loss of Rs 150 crore during his period.

“Not just this, the managing directors are replaced too often hindering all development works. More than five managing directors have been changed in the last three years,” said Ananth.

The population of weavers is estimated to be 70 lakh in the State and the Union government had allotted Rs 300 crore for the aid of the community. However, only Rs 150 crore had been accounted for, he claimed.

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