Now 'ahimsa' silk sarees for women

Last Updated 21 July 2010, 05:53 IST

City based silk producer P Gopinath, who has introduced this saree in his showroom, is excited about this new venture after getting a 'tremendous' response from the public.

He says he has tied up with Secundrabad based sericulturist Kushma Raja, who has registered and patented this process after evolving a method to produce silk yarn from cocoons after the worm bursts out as butterflies.

Gopinath says these sarees will attract a larger market, especially the Jain community who are firm practitioners of non-violence and have been avoiding wearing ordinary silk sarees for this reason. However these sarees would cost an additional Rs 2,000 each over and above the 'normal cost of Rs 10,000, he said.
An official of Weavers' service centre (a wing of the union commerce ministry) said that efforts were made in the 90's to develop this saree, drawing in tribals of Assam and the North East.

This involved a different strain of mulberry called Muga, Eri and Tussar grown high on trees. Tribals having habitats in 'tree houses collected broken cocoons after mulberry worms grew inside, broke free and flew away and marketing facilities would purchase it from them.

This was to be linked to afforestation programs and also to provide continued livelihood for the tribals, close to their environment and lifestyles. But it was not taken up in a big way as the technology to process the yarn and later weave it were not developed.

"Such support is needed to make the reeling industry economically viable, for it is the extraction technology that maximises profits in the reeling industry and makes it sustainable," he said.

Besides, a census of tribals and their various activities was also due some ten years back to chart out a coherent program to organise them and link them to the market, but it was not done.

Absence of enumeration among silk worm growers also impeded the plan from taking shape. This would have provided additional source for yarns to the silk industry here, he said.

The major source for yarn is Karnataka Board of silks, he said addding, the Chinese 'philoaster' (silk yarn) has found a big market.

(Published 21 July 2010, 05:51 IST)

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