GUWAHATI, Nov 14 � Here is a significant development. People of Sialmari Char near Sualkuchi in Kamrup district and its adjacent Kurihamari Char in Nalbari district have taken to weaving. They are procuring handloom from Greater Sualkuchi area, which is known to be the main centre of the traditional silk � pat (mulberry) and muga � producing areas of the State. The char people of the State are traditionally not linked with weaving.
According to information, the process started about three years back on a small scale and now this has gathered momentum. Against the one or two earlier, people of Sialmari are now procuring trucks load of handloom from the greater Sualkuchi areas.
Around 8,000 handlooms in Sualkuchi have now become redundant due to dearth of weavers. Around 4,000 of these handlooms are now sold to the outside people. A good number of these looms are believed to have landed in Sialmari and Kurihamari chars. Both the chars are located right in the midst of the Brahmaputra and the distance between Sualkuchi and Sialmari Char is around 17 km. Kurihamari is close to Sialmari.
It needs mention here that a handloom generally needs between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000 with all raw materials to start operation.
Akbar Ali, a businessman of Sialmari Char (village � Gaonburhapam Bamundi) told this correspondent that around two years back the installation of the handlooms started in their char and now there are around 350 looms in their village and these looms are run in a factory system with one owner possessing several looms.
Around 500 people are engaged in this trade of weaving clothes in the village and most of the weavers are school dropout boys. Initially, some of these boys learnt weaving in handlooms at Ramdiya, Ramdiya Melpara, Sualkuchi, Bongsor, etc., areas and gradually their number rose to around 150. These boys have trained other weavers. A few girls of the char are also engaged in weaving.
These weavers produce mainly polyester clothes like mekhela, chadar. They have mastered the art of traditional embroidery (buta bocha) too. Their products are sold at Ramdiya, Ramdiya Melpara, Bongshor and Sualkuchi proper, Ali added.
Sources in Sualkuchi informed that the char people are also using pat yarn in the weft and polyester yarn in the warp.
Akbar Ali said that the Central Silk Board had around two years back provided about 20 handlooms to the Sialmari Char people at subsidised rates. He also added that a section of the neighbouring Kurihamari Char people has also taken to weaving.
It needs mention here that Akbar Ali himself owns six handlooms, while his nephew (elder brother�s son) Ismail Ali owns seven, his brother-in-law Ashab Ali owns five, his nephew (sister�s son) Soleman Ali owns nine and his distant relation Sahidul Islam owns seven handlooms.