Telangana woos back migrated weavers with power loom cluster

By: Raji Reddy Kesireddy

The Telangana government is promising to help weavers set up power looms in a bid to bring back thousands of families that migrated to the neighbouring states, especially Gujarat, over the past decades.

The government, which has earmarked 60 acres of land for a proposed textile cluster in Warangal, has received interest from at least 360 families of weavers to set up power looms, officials said.

The government expects investments of about Rs 360 crore in the power loom cluster to be set up under the umbrella of Kakatiya Textile Weavers’ Cooperative Society. Once fully operational, the cluster will have an installed capacity of 8 lakh metres of textiles a day, providing employment to nearly 7,000 people.

Aimed at helping the weavers turn entrepreneurs with own power looms, the central and state governments are extending subsidy to the tune of 50%, with the Centre contributing 30% and the state 20%. Of the balance, the government is arranging loans from banks for up to 35% of the sum while asking the weavers to limit their outgo to 15%.

The managing director of Telangana Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC), EV Narasimha Reddy, said the corporation will act as the nodal agency to create industrial infrastructure at the proposed power loom cluster and allot lands to the weavers turned entrepreneurs.

“The state government has already released Rs 10 crore towards building infrastructure including roads, power and water supply at the cluster, most of which should be ready in a month’s time,” Reddy said.

The cluster will be ready by August-end for allotment to prospective entrepreneurs, he said. Darga Swamy, president of the Kakatiya Textile Weavers’ Cooperative Society, said most of the members of the society had migrated to Surat in Gujarat in the late 1980s. “Most of us have earned decently over the decades and have set up power looms in Surat. Coming back to our native place to set up power looms helps us serve the region and also arrest further migration. We hope to begin construction work ..

Terming it a first of its kind initiative in the cooperative model, Donthi Narasimha Reddy, member of the consultative committee of cotton advisory board, said, “Given the scale, the venture appears to be viable but the government should ensure product offtake and help the weavers in marketing and business operations.”

Reddy said that the power loom sector is bleeding and there has been little progress on the nearly 40 clusters that the previous UPA government had announced. The sector reported 5% growth in 2014-15 after it suffered a negative growth of 6% in the previous fiscal.

The government is planning to procure the textiles produced by the weavers’ cooperative at the power loom cluster and use it for government consumption, including school uniforms, said Reddy.

Apart from Warangal, Telangana is home to power looms and handlooms in pockets such as Karimnagar, Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar, which saw thousands of weavers’ families migrating to neighbouring states for livelihood over the last few decades.

“Encouraged by the reverse migration of weavers’ families from Surat to Warangal, we have been receiving requests for replicating the power loom cluster concept in a few others towns that suffered severe migration. We are looking into these requests,” said Reddy.

Source: Economic Times

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