Weavers from Odisha’s Sonepur bear the brunt of COVID-19 lockdown

Sonepur: At a time when the Centre is planning to extend the nationwide lockdown for another two weeks, a containment measure to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), more than 15,000 weaver families from Sonepur district are staring at an uncertain future. Weavers of Sonepur district, who are known for producing beautiful Pata Saree, Bomkai Saree and Bandha Saree, are now on the verge of losing livelihood. Hand-woven sarees are lying unsold at store houses of weavers and weavers’ cooperative societies due to the lockdown.

On usual days the popular sarees of Sonepur district used to be exported to Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bhubaneswar. But due to the lockdown neither the weavers have been able to get raw materials from cooperative societies nor they could sell their sarees that are already woven.

As many as 6,000 weaving mills in the district have stopped functioning following the lockdown.

What is worrying is that both the Centre and State are yet to announce any assistance for weavers even though they are going through financial crisis.
Member of Boyanika’s Board of Directors Sananda Meher said the Centre announced packages for economically weaker sections and distributed grains and cash to them. The State also followed the suit and provided cooked food and assistance to beneficiaries of the State Food Security Scheme.

However, both the Centre and State forgot announced assistance for weavers of the country in these difficult times. The government must act fast and do something concrete for weavers, he added.

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