GUWAHATI, April 20 - The state�s Handloom and Textiles Directorate is in a position to arrange for the procurement of over one lakh gamosas, estimated to be worth around Rs 1.2 crore.
Nearly 10,000 weaver families connected with 98 extension service units and around 200 weavers connected with 20 handloom production centres under the Directorate located all over the state produced over 50,000 gamosas prior to the lockdown. A similar quantity of ready-to-sale gamosas is also there with private weavers and weavers� cooperative societies, registered with the Directorate.
However, the COVID-19 outbreak-related lockdown has prevented collection of all these gamosas.
The Directorate had this time fixed a target of weaving two lakh gamosas to meet the demand of the people on the occasion of Rongali Bihu. But production of gamosas was hampered by the lockdown.
If the money earned from selling the gamosas could be paid to the weavers, who are now facing acute financial problems, that would bring them some succour, said sources in the Directorate.
The sources said that to provide relief to these weavers, the government could procure their gamosas. The big-sized gamosas can be used in preparing face masks and small ones can be wrapped by people around their faces by neatly folding them, the sources said. Similarly, arnais, pajals and other ethnic gamosas may also be used for the purpose.
The sources said cotton, eri, wool, which are natural fibres, have anti-bacterial qualities. If used after washing with boiled water, the gamosas can be more effective as face masks, compared to many of the face masks available in the market.
The size of the coronavirus is 400-500 microns, whereas the sizes of the fibre gaps between the warps and wefts of the cotton gamosas are 15-20 microns. This makes the gamosas, when used in several folds, veritable shields against the coronavirus, the sources said.
The Health Department may procure the gamosas available with the weavers, also for the daily use of patients, doctors and health workers in hospitals and quarantine centres.
It perhaps needs no mention here that a gamosa is cheaper than a machine-made towel. The elegantly embroidered hand-woven gamosas thus procured may also be used in felicitating the doctors and health workers engaged in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.
Moreover, during the lockdown period, the handloom weavers need to be provided with an atmosphere congenial to weaving. Weaving is in no way going to violate the social distancing protocol, the sources said.
The state government may provide them raw materials through the yarn bank at the existing 30 per cent subsidized rate. Yarn can be delivered to the weavers at their doorsteps using vans and then procuring their products at remunerative prices, again from their doorsteps, with a system of online payment, the sources said.
The Indian handloom census conducted in 2019-2020 stated that Assam has around 10.9 lakh weaver families � the highest in the country.