Aid pours in, but government clueless

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SMITHA N
Published Sep 19, 2018, 5:44 am IST
Updated Sep 19, 2018, 5:44 am IST
Weavers cooperatives in Chendamangalam complain lack of focussed rehabilitation programme.
A weaver tries to salvage whatever is remaining of the handlooms at Chendamangalam after floods ravaged it.
 A weaver tries to salvage whatever is remaining of the handlooms at Chendamangalam after floods ravaged it.

Kochi: Chendamangalam, one of the worst affected panchayats in Ernakulam due the floods, has been getting promises for financial assistance and support for long-term rehabilitation from across the globe.

The damage caused to the traditional Chendamangalam handloom industry is the major reason for the global attention.

 

However, poor coordination from government agencies and local body authorities to effectively tap the support from external agencies is causing heartburn.

Public Sector Units like Cochin Shipyard Limited, artists’ groups, fashion designers, NGOs and corporate houses have extended support to rebuild the weavers’ village.

“Representatives from many national and international agencies are visiting the damaged handloom societies and looms. Every day, representatives of nearly five NGOs or social organisations are visiting the village. But not even a single weaver in our society has received financial support from any agency. The only support we received was from few fashion designers and boutique owners who helped us to sell the damp stock,” said P.A. Sojan, secretary of the Chendamangalam Kaithari Naithu Vyavasaya Production-cum-Sale Cooperative Society.

The society has 113 workers, including 108 weavers and it is one of the societies which suffered the worst blow in the floods. The society has lost all the 108 looms, other equipment, yarns and clothes. The total estimated loss is to the tune of `1.50 crore.

There are five societies of which three were completely damaged while the other two had partial loss.

“Though various NGOs’ representatives are conducting surveys to assess the damage, our immediate requirement is financial assistance to get the looms repaired. Many of the families are in distress as they have lost means of livelihood for more than a month. Since monsoon intensified, volume of work and earnings were the minimum and the situation worsened with the floods. Onam sale was also washed away,” he added.

Meanwhile, T.S. Baby, president of the Paravur Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society said that the local body authorities or the government have not initiated any measures to coordinate the support from NGOs and external agencies.

A total of eight weavers in his society received funds from three different groups and restarted weaving. A Delhi-based NGO will distribute funds to 54 more weavers in next couple of weeks.

“Though Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation chairman has visited the village and promised support for rehabilitation of weaver village, the follow-up has been delayed,” he said.

However, industries minister E.P. Jayarajan has called for a meeting of representatives of handloom industry in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday which is expected to finalise an action plan for revival of the sector.

“If immediate support is not given to repair looms, it will be difficult to bring back the weavers to the sector as most of their families are in miserable condition,” added Sojan.

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