Rajanna-Sircilla: The struggle to get a square meal and being driven to suicide, being unable to clear debts, are a thing of the past in the textile town of Sircilla. Local weavers, who used to die either due to starvation or commit suicide due to lack of employment, have reached a position where they can save some money for a rainy day, besides clearing debts. All this is, thanks to Bathukamma saree orders for bringing a major change in the lives of Sircilla weavers..
In order to bail out weavers from debts and instil confidence among the community by providing employment, the State government, especially local MLA KT Rama Rao, conceived various programmes after formation of separate Telangana State. Though they have been given RVM uniforms and other orders, the Bathukamma saree orders have changed the fortunes of the weaving community. Orders for Bathukamma sarees have been given to local weavers during the last three years. While 95.48 lakh saree orders were placed in 2017, this was enhanced to 99.02 lakh in 2018. This year, 1.02 crore saree orders were placed. Huge jump in income Usually, they get Rs 1.25 for weaving a metre of cotton or polyester cloth. However, there is 200 per cent jump in the income of weavers since they are being paid Rs 8.50 on weaving a metre of Bathukamma saree cloth. With this, a weaver, who used to get Rs 7,000 to 8,000 per month, is able to earn Rs 16,000 to Rs 20,000. Some of them are even earning up to Rs 25,000. They are not only getting sufficient income, weavers are gradually clearing their debts, paying school fee of their children besides saving some amount for their future needs. Sharing his travails with Telangana Today, an Asamee, Vanam Mahesh, thanked the Telangana government, especially KT Rama Rao, for giving Bathukamma saree orders which is helping weavers get out of the vicious cycle of debts and save some money for their needs. Jobs for 8 months Mahesh, who runs six sanchas and incurred a debt of Rs 4 lakh, is now able to clear debts gradually. Both Mahesh and his wife, Sandhya, are working round-the-clock to weave sarees. They are earning Rs 30,000 per month and after deduction of Rs 4,000 for different expenditures, including rent of sanchas, waipani work, power bills, fitting charges, they were able save Rs 25,000, he said. While some of the amount has been used to clear debts, remaining amount was used to pay school fee and meet other expenses, Sandhya said. A worker, Yennam Vijaya, said they were able to get employment for eight months, including six months (Bathukamma sarees) and two months for making RVM uniforms. In the remaining four months, they were left without work. So, the government should take steps to get them orders from Singareni Collieries, RTC, hospital bedsheets, etc, she opined..