GUWAHATI, Nov 24 � The Sualkuchi Tat Silpa Unnayan Samiti has demanded urgent steps to cover the Sualkuchi weavers under the Public Distribution System (PDS). There are around 8,000 weavers engaged in the famous silk industry of Sualkuchi.
According to Sualkuchi Tat Silpa Unnayan Samiti general secretary Hiralal Kalita, the Unnayan Samiti further pleaded for steps to cover the Sualkuchi weavers also under the schemes like free medical aid, weaving loan and home loan. It called for steps to impress upon the banks located in Sualkuchi to extend soft loans to the Sualkuchi silk industry.
The Samiti called for steps also to implement the Rs 35-crore project announced by the Central Silk Board for improvement of the Sualkuchi silk industry.
The Unnayan Samiti has sought 50 per cent subsidy from the Government on mulberry silk bought from Bangaluru and urgent steps from the Silk Mark Organisation of the Central Silk Board to install the required machinery and supply of required technology to the Sualkuchi silk industry for detection of fake silk items. This will help the Sualkuchi silk industry a lot in checking the inroads of fake silk items, Kalita said.
Referring to the Unnayan Samiti memorandum submitted to the State�s Minister for Handloom and Textiles on July 28, 2013, Kalita said the Unnayan Samiti has demanded GI registration of the Sualkuchi products, a yarn bank in Sualkuchi and a ban on the sale of the outside-the-State silk products in Assam until the GI registration is obtained.
It also called for steps to obtain trade mark for the Sualkuchi fabric, supply of raw materials to the Sualkuchi silk industry at 50 per cent subsidised prices, establishment of a training centre for equipping those connected with the Sualkuchi silk industry with proper technical knowledge of the textile industry.
The Unnayan Samiti urged for steps to set up an auction centre for augmenting the sale of the Sualkuchi products.
There should be urgent steps on the part of the administration to check the sale of fake silk clothes in the sale outlets, Kalita said. In this connection, he referred to the September 18, 2013 memorandum of the Tat Silpa Unnayan Samiti to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Kamrup (Metro).
Earlier, there were 16,000 weavers engaged in this industry. But since 2001-02 their number started dwindling under the impact of the MNREGA, Rs 3-a-kg rice etc schemes. This made around 50 per cent of the looms of the around 1,800 to 2,000 production units of Sualkuchi inactive. Significantly, most of the Sualkuchi weavers hail from Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) areas.
If the Sualkuchi weavers are covered under the PDS, this will ensure supply of the rationed items and kerosene oil at subsidised prices to them and will thus make life of the weavers easier. This will prevent desertion of the Sualkuchi silk industry by the weavers, Kalita said.