Andhra Pradesh Assembly Elections: The weavers of Dharmavaram, who are struggling to save their existence, have high hopes from the new government.

Dharmavaram. The weavers of Dharmavaram, famous as the silk city of Andhra Pradesh, are struggling to preserve their existence but the assembly elections have given them hope that their voice will also be heard in the corridors of power. The weavers here have traditionally specialized in weaving sarees using handlooms and it was the weavers of Dharmavaram who, in 1918, first wove a saree that could be kept in a matchbox. Recently, the weavers here had woven a 180 feet long and 16 kg saree for the newly built Ramlala temple in Ayodhya.

The weavers of Dharmavaram are known for weaving sarees of exquisite design and superior quality and hence their woven sarees are compared to the prestigious Kanjeevaram sarees woven in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu. Dharmavaram, which once had a thriving handloom industry, is now facing several problems, including influx of cheaper alternative fabrics due to the advent of ‘power looms’. This problem is further aggravated by the shortage of weavers as the new generation is moving to other places in search of better opportunities.

The remaining weavers here are struggling to survive their profession after rising raw material prices and dwindling government support. K Adinarayana, a 50-year-old weaver living in Kotapeta Colony, said, “It is becoming difficult for us to preserve our art.” He said, “The state government has stopped the annual subsidy of Rs 24,000 which helps us. With this we used to counter the increase in the price of silk and brocade.” According to the weavers, the price of silk was Rs 2600 per kg in 2011, which has now increased to Rs 5600 per kg.

He told that even in 2011, where half a kilogram of pure zari was available for Rs 1200, now its price has become Rs 5000. Adinarayan said that due to lack of guarantor, it is becoming difficult to get even Rs 50,000 from the ‘Mudra Loan’ scheme for purchasing raw materials. The difficulty of weavers has also been increased by the flood of cheap sarees in the market made from power looms and sold in the name of Dharmavaram sarees. Of another weaver. Shankaraiah (50) also said that he has not received subsidy for two years. He demanded the government to simplify the rules so that loans can be easily obtained.

The people of Dharmavaram are hopeful of improvement in the situation from the upcoming assembly elections. There are currently 48,000 weavers, 19,000 handlooms and 2,4820 saree shops in Dharmavaram. The current MLA of YSR Congress from this assembly constituency is K. Venkat Rami Reddy is the candidate again while Congress has fielded Rangana Ashwath Narayan. Here from BJP’s side Y. Satya Kumar is in the field. Elections to the 175-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly will be held on May 13 along with 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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