Failure of Government Programme (Marketing Centre) for Promoting Traditional Handloom Weaving in Eastern Uttar Pradesh

Since India got its independence,tradition weaving craft has been the second largest informal sector after agriculture which serves as viable source of economy. Indeed, such traditional occupation by enlarge is recognised as an important additional emolument for educationally and economically backward household women. Since 1985, three consecutive handloom censuses and a number of studies summarily reported a drastic decline of about 33%in Indian traditional handloom weaving during 1995 to 2010.Consequently, this grave situation has compelled (i) the weavers to look for some or the other source of livelihood and (ii) the Indian Government to seed various initiatives to protect and promote handloom weavers. Contrarily, the studies showed non-effectiveness of these programmes/policies causingthe downsizing of handloom industry across India. One such programme is construction of Marketing centre in Mau region for promotion of handloom weaving.

 

Marketing Centre, Ali Nagar, under Assistant commissioner, Handloom and Textile Mau, until mid-2018 non-functional, local people call it “Hathi Dant”.

Marketing Centre:It is generally perceived and discussed in policy making circles that if the handloom co-operative societies were facilitated with marketing opportunity this traditional craft may survive and flourish. In the year 2012 the then Chief Minister sanctioned an amount of 1245.84 lakh INR (or about 12.5 crore) for marketing centre in handloom concentrated area of Mau region. As per RTI responses and as shown in the picture the building was complete year in January 2018 and it was officially inaugurated too. This centre was nearly completed within scheduled time frame work.It is true that handloom weaving products need some place to be displayed for the public. It can provide opportunity to know the market demands and taste. This will result in sell of handloom products. Provided this Marketing centre appears to be beneficial for weavers.

But during interaction with the general weavers and with society members some serious concerns came into light which may be discussed as follows. The place where centre is built with huge amount is remote even it is far away from the local fairly good market. It is located in abandoned area of police station region. One society owner said that had the centre built in main market or on road the story could have been altogether different. They opined that this building would have been more appropriate at Mau or Azamgarh District headquarters or even in Varanasi. Some weavers in their slang referred it as “Hathi ka Dant”(Elephant’s tooth) meaning it is only a show piece. During discussion Commissioner assured the researcher that he is determined to open it weekly for which he has allotted some shops to the handloom cooperative societies of Gorakhpur region, Tanda and Varanasi. But until mid-2018, Marketing centre was unable to serve its purpose. It speaks volumes how poor implementation of the programmes are for traditional handloom weavers. This contributes to the gradual decline in the numbers of handloom weavers.

Opening of Marketing Centre:Government has made several programmes for the benefits of weavers and has substantially invested in the development of handloom sector but these programmes have not been implemented properly. The building made in the Mau for marketing the handloom products is still not operational. Hence, it is urgently  needed that it must be opened and made functional without any further delay so that needy weavers may get its benefit.

References:

Garg, M. (2015, October). Preserving our heritage: Protecting and promoting handloom. Yojna, 59, 42–46.

NCAER. (2010). Handloom census 2009-10. New Delhi: Development Commissioner( Handloom), Ministry of textiles Government of India.

Amir Hussain, Department of Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University. Aligarh

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