Silk weavers in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, have expressed their ire over the government's false promises of providing them with basic amenities.
A local weaver, Mohammed Faizan, said: "Weavers of Varanasi had a lot of hope that in the ongoing budget session, the government will include our demands, but the government hasn't done anything for us yet. We face a lot of problems in getting electricity, the price of weaving machines are really high. Due to inflation, the poor are becoming poorer and the government continues to ignore our pleas. They do give a lot of hope, but nothing is done after that."
Weavers claim that the government pays attention to them only during the time of elections as they are a sizeable votebank.
Silk trader Maqbool Hasan said: "The kinds of schemes that have been provided to weavers are impractical, as at the root, it doesn't benefit the weavers at all. Secondly, when it comes to thread, they believe that the value of silk and cotton threads are the same. Cotton is available at the price of 250 rupees to 450 rupees per kilo, while you get silk at a price of 3000 to 6000 rupees, but the government doesn't understand this difference. Thus, silk weavers are being treated unfairly."
The weavers also feel threatened by the machine-made Chinese silk, thus making it hard for them to survive in the market.
The government had announced a 62.34 billion rupees package for 1.3 million weavers, and it had to be provided to the weavers by January 2012. However, the monetary assistance provided by the government has merely being fulfilled.
Varanasi is famous for its hand-woven silk. The brocades woven here are also used for religious purposes in monasteries of India, Nepal and Tibet and also favoured by the Dalai Lama.
The exclusive fabric woven by these artisans is prepared in the most pious way, as weavers perform a typical cleansing ritual before they get on with their job at their looms. (ANI)