Chennai - Weavers of Onnupuram find odd jobs for livelihood

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The rhythmic beats of handloom pedals that were once heard in almost every street of Onnupuram village near Arani in Tiruvannamalai district have gone silent now.

A loom lies idle at onnupuram village near Arani in Tiruvannamalai District 
CHENNAI: The rhythmic beats of handloom pedals that were once heard in almost every street of Onnupuram village near Arani in Tiruvannamalai district have gone silent now.
The place now resembles a ghost town as most residents of this village, weavers by profession, have moved out in search of jobs. Orders they used to receive during temple festivals, family events and government functions, have dried up completely. So, they are now taking up any job ranging from night watchmen to gardener to make a living.

K J Sathish, who used to weave silk sarees and sell them to big showrooms in Chennai making about Rs 20,000 every month, now works as a security guard at a car showroom at Sriperumpudur in Chennai. His friends and neighbours have set up small eateries or are working as janitors, gardeners and security guards to earn their livelihood. Some have even joined restaurants as servers and also the Mgnrega (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment) scheme. “There are about 2,000 families in the village who have been weavers for more than six decades. They weave about 10,000 sarees a month for major showrooms in Chennai and Kancheepuram. They get about Rs 2,000-Rs 5,000 per saree. But now raw materials have stopped coming from Bengaluru and there are no orders coming up. The companies are not paying us well. Some are trying to sell in nearby villages and 90% are jobless,” said R Ganesan, manager of Athimalaipattu Aringnar Anna Weavers’ Cooperative Society.


“About 50% have left for mills in Tirupur, some are working in Kattalai and some are making sweets in Sandavasal. The rest are working in nearby villages. We look make an income of Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 every month. We will return once we begin getting orders again,” said Sathish. Annapurni, a weaver, said for them weaving is not just a job but it is what they live for. “The village is completely silent now. We hope things get back to normal soon. For us more than the money, the fact that we cannot weave anymore is more hurting,” she said.

M N Arul has been living on his savings for the past four months but his daughter who topped her school in the village is now waiting to get admission in a private college. “I have no idea how I will pay her fees. Moreover, I also have taken a lot of loans,” he said. Last week, the weavers got Rs 2,500 as compensation from the government. “Many don’t even get three meals. We are completely dependent on rations provided by the government. They were all jobless for more than four months and finally last week many youngsters have moved out of the village in search of work,” said M D Srinivasan, another weaver from the village.


K S Kandasamy, collector of Tiruvannamalai district, said if weavers are part of the welfare board, they would get some compensation. "We can only help them based on the government schemes," he said

Source: Times of India

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Indian Weaver Community : Chennai - Weavers of Onnupuram find odd jobs for livelihood
Chennai - Weavers of Onnupuram find odd jobs for livelihood
The rhythmic beats of handloom pedals that were once heard in almost every street of Onnupuram village near Arani in Tiruvannamalai district have gone silent now.
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