Balasore: Tasar saree weavers of Balasore district have created their own identity in the country and abroad for finer and exquisite artisanship in handloom weaving of saree, scarf, cloth and dhoti.
However, they are passing through tough times amid the COVID-19 outbreak and shutdown restrictions, for over past five months.
According to reports, there are over 400 weaver families at Makadia village under Jaleswar block in Balasore district. The weavers here work under Makadia Tasar Handloom Cooperative Society and Jhagadeswar Tasar Tasar Handloom Cooperative Society.
The two societies have about 300 handlooms where over 450 tasar weavers work every day. This is how the livelihoods of over 4,000 villagers depend directly or indirectly. The specialised tasar weavers eke out their living from this source of earning only.
Notably, state handloom textiles and handicrafts department provides tasar to the weavers at subsidised rate, along with other technical knowhow. The two societies play an instrumental role in this regard.
Several cooperative organisations like Boyanika, Serifed, Utkalika and Sambalpuri Bastralaya earn crores of rupees from tasar saree sale. Tasar products are sent to outside markets like Kolkata, Bishnupur, Raghunathpur, Hyderabad, Surat, Benares, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi and Lucknow through local traders.
“Tasar products worth crores of rupees still remain unsold at the society godowns. The state government should be proactive and provide assistance”, some tasar handloom weavers lamented.
In a similar vein, a local weaver Sushant Kumar Paldi expressed his plight saying, “We are in this occupation since generations. I have two handlooms at my home where the entire family works. Prior to COVID-19 outbreak, I had been earning Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 every month”.
It has become very tough these days to meet the household expenses. Fiscal standings of the tasar handloom weavers have staggered to a great extent, Sushant added.