Revive handloom sector to develop NK: Prasanna Heggodu

Prasanna Heggodu and others stage 'Handloom Satyagraha' in front of KHDC head office at Vidyanagar in Hubballi on Thursday.

The Handloom Satyagraha, which started in Bengaluru on the occasion of the National Handloom Day on August 7, has now entered North Karnataka region with handloom weavers and others staging a protest in front of Karnataka Handloom Development Corporation (KHDC) head office at Vidyanagar in the City on Thursday under the leadership noted khadi activist Prasanna Heggodu.

Gram Seva Sangha, Karnataka Kaimagga Nekarara Sangha and other organisations staged a dharna urging the government to invest Rs 2,000 crore over a period of five years, to revive cotton and handloom sector on 'Amul model', which would directly benefit 1.50 lakh families in the region. Reviving the handloom sector is key for the development of North Karnataka, they said.

Rangayana students staged 'Gandhi' drama and sang songs in support of the cause.

NK development

"While showing interest to encourage MNCs and big corporate houses to set up industries, the governments are neglecting handloom sector, though cotton cultivation and handloom sector in the region which have a long history. They have the ability to improve the standard of living in rural areas. This movement began when weavers started selling their products on the streets, opposing the renting out of KHDC godowns in Bengaluru," Prasanna said. Proper marketing and other facilities are required for the revival of the industry, he noted.

"If the government fails to respond to our demand, we will seek industrialists like Sudha Murthy to invest in handloom sector, to showcase its potential. Handloom products should be excluded from GST. On Kerala model, weavers should be given additional wages under MGNREGS, and handloom clothes should be supplied to schools. Handloom products are in good demand across the globe, and North Karnataka can develop as a major supplier," he said.

Protest expands

The protest would expand to other areas in the region, and it would be intensified, if the government fails to respond, Prasanna said.

"Weavers should ask Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy for the supply of yarn, and should not fall prey to those who misguide them," he added.

Farmers' leader Siddhanagouda Patil charged that the Union Government is planning a scheme to hand over the land of small farmers to industries, and handloom sector is in trouble due to wrong policies of the government and the number of weavers is coming down.

Vittappa Gorantli, Nityanand Swamy, N J Malawade, Shankar Halagatti, and others were present.

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Revive handloom sector to develop NK: Prasanna Heggodu

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