Banahatti's economy trips over Seemandhra agitation

Weavers, dealers in tatters as dues from buyers mount

Banahatti's economy trips  over Seemandhra agitation

The agitation in Seemandhra for an united Andhra Pradesh seems to have woven a web of uncertainty for people in the twin towns of Rabakavi-Banahatti. 

The cotton textile-based economy here, for which the towns and cities in theSeemandhra region are prime markets, has been wrecked to a great extent, with losses in the range of Rs 50 crore in the last three months.

The worst affected are the thousands of families of the weaver community, who may find it difficult to sustain their families if the impasse in the neighbouring state continues for some more time.    

The thread for the sarees woven here are dyed at Chirala in Andhra Pradesh, known for its good quality dyeing work. The agitation has meant that it is taking no less than 20 days for the thread consignments to reach the twin towns after dyeing, says Mallu Bhadrannavar, one of the weavers. 

The cotton sarees from here have great demand in the cities of Vijayawada, Vijayanagaram, Guntur, Kavali, Nellore, Dwarapudi, Chirala and Vishakhapatnam in the Seemandhra region. 

With the protests for a unified Andhra Pradesh state reaching a crescendo, the saree business has suffered a huge setback. 

As a result, the wholesale buyers there are not able to clear the dues of the bulk producers in Rabakavi-Banahatti for the last few months. 

The virtual shutdown of the transport facilities to Seemandhra has resulted in saree stocks not moving out of the producers’ shelves. 

Shankar Junjappanavar, one of the major wholesale dealers of sarees, says that before the agitation, a truckload of sarees (200 bundles) used to be transported to Andhra Pradesh daily. 

With each bundle containing 80 sarees, a total of 16,000 sarees costing Rs 300 each used to be sold to wholesalers in Andhra Pradesh. Thus, the loss now comes to Rs 50 lakh daily and Rs 15 crore a month, he estimated.

Many of the traders and producers from here travelled to Andhra Pradesh to recover the dues, but to no avail, said Prabhu Karalatti, another wholesaler. Citing an example, he said that the transportation from Rajahmundry to Dwarapudi, which used to cost Rs 30, now costs Rs 400.

Losses are mounting for the producers, who have to pay salaries to the weavers, for purchasing the thread and for the dyeing work. 

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