Lockdown upends lives of Bagalkot weavers

Lockdown upends lives of Bagalkot weavers; 62,000 looms fall silent

Bagalkot weaver

The ongoing lockdown clamped to mitigate virus spread has upended the lives of thousands from the weaving community in the district

Over 62,000 handlooms and powerlooms in Rabakavi-Banahatti, Chimmad, Mudhol, Lokapur, Kamatagi, Kerur, Ilkal and Guledgudd in the district have gone silent following the lockdown, hitting hard the lives of skilled
labourers.

Amateppa Koppal a veteran weaver from Guledgudd and a leader of the Nekara community, poured out his woes to DH, “The famed handwoven sarees, blouse piece and other products from the region have a good market in Karnataka and Maharashtra while the powerloom fabric/products have market in most of the states. With the curbs on the interstate movement, the finished products are lying idle with the weavers. The traditional weaving industry in the region has come to a standstill.”

Spare a thought for the craftsmen working in handlooms/powerlooms. “The situation is grim for the handloom weavers - both the owners and the workers. Skilled labourers employed in handlooms normally weave six metres of fabric a day and ear somewhere around Rs 180 to Rs 200. Those in powerloom earn a tad better then their counterparts in handlooms. But even that better is not good enough to lead a decent life in normal days. And it is hard to imagine their lives without work and wages in these testing times,” the weaver from Guledgudd lamented.

Now, there is neither supply of raw materials nor is market for the finished products due to nationwide lockdown. Not just weavers and labourers, even the traders, middlemen, suppliers of raw materials, transporters have become jobless, rues Amateppa.