Guwahati, Mar 18: The Assam government on Friday said it has seized 16,000 machine-made ‘Gamocha’ (Assamese scarf) from the markets across the state in the last one year in order to promote handmade products by the weavers.
Replying to a Zero Hour discussion raised by Congress MLA Diganta Barman, Handloom and Textile Minister Urkhao Gwra Brahma said the state agencies are carrying out a drive against the sale of powerloom ‘Gamocha’.
The traditional Assamese scarf has recently received the coveted Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
“We have seized 16,000 Gamocha so far since April last year. We will continue this drive,” he told the House.
Brahma said after the seizure, the cloth is sent for laboratory testing, but Assam does not have such a facility.
“We send these to Kolkata for testing and it takes time to get the report on the quality of the product… Our district officers are conducting the raids. The CM has given orders to continue with the raids and there will be no compromise on that,” he added.
Along with ‘Gamocha’, polyester-mixed Mekhela-Chador (women’s traditional dress) were also seized as per a directive from the Gauhati High Court, Brahma said.
On this, Barman suggested the government destroy the seized machine-made Gamocha in order to send a message against such products.
On February 28, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that police would launch an “intense operation” to stop the sale of machine-made Gamocha.
“There are 12 lakh weavers in the state and all of them were disheartened seeing the machine-made Gamocha, Mekhela-Chador and Aronai (Bodo scarf) being sold in Assam. All these products come from outside the state,” he had added.
The police were given instructions to seize all the machine-made products coming from outside the state in order to boost the local weavers, Sarma had said.