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    Jalukbari awaits handloom sector revival | Guwahati News – Times of India

    GUWAHATI: Jalukbari voters have one petition to all candidates who have come to them seeking votes: Addressing the issues of Sualkuchi’s handloom sector, where over 20,000 weavers have been affected due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
    Sualkuchi, about 35km from Guwahati, often known as the Manchester of the East, is a single commercial hub of handloom silk production. Almost 20,000 people of the entire Sualkuchi village are engaged in age-old traditional Pat Muga production.
    However, the industry has been struggling lately. High prices of silk yarn, along with decreasing number of skilled weavers, has pushed the industry to the brink.
    “Definitely the people of Sualkuchi are looking forward to reduction of yarn prices at the earliest. Though the government has established a yarn bank, it had failed to cater to the needs of Sualkuchi’s weavers. Along with yarns, other raw material prices are also shooting up. The government must come forward to stop this price rise to save small producers,” Nihar Ranjan Kalita, HoD, department of economics, SBMS College, Sualkuchi, told TOI.
    He said imposing GST on various materials used in the cottage industry is also a reason behind the price spike.
    “So, GST must be removed on the items traditionally used in the cottage industry. To increase labour flow as well as attract new generation to the handloom industry, various social security measures, particularly for weavers, must be taken,” Kalita said, seeking Geographical Indicator (GI) status for Sualkuchi’s silk to protect it from unscrupulous traders of the state.
    “The government’s failure in preventing the import of duplicated mekhela-chador and gamosas from other states has added to their losses,” a weaver said.
    Jalukbari seat in Kamrup Metro district of Assam goes to the polls on Tuesday. In 2016, Himanta Biswa Sarma of BJP won from this seat, beating Niren Deka of INC by 85,935 votes. Sarma is eyeing a fifth consecutive win from the seat.
    Citizens are happy with Himanta for solving civic issues, but still they wish other teething problems be addressed.
    A GU professor told TOI, there is a gap between policy declaration and information received by public. “My domestic helper from a colony did not know about Atal amrit yojna until I told her and helped her. As this is a city and population are discrete in nature there is a need of a “information filler/disseminator” for successful implementation of all developmental scheme,” she added.

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