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Tuesday, March 27, 2001

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New depot to help Pochampally weavers

M. Somasekhar

HYDERABAD, March 26

THE famous `Ikat' fabric designers from Pochampally village, a struggling lot today, will soon get a small relief in the form of a new depot, that would aid in procurement and supply of the much needed raw material.

The Pochampally weavers association has volunteered land in the village, situated about 40 km from Hyderabad for the depot to the Commissioner, National Handlooms Development Corporation (NHDC). The price of procurement is expected to come down by at lea st 15 per cent, according to Mr N.V.R. Nathan, Director of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT).

A decision to establish the depot in Pochampally was taken recently after an interaction meeting between the Union Minister of State for Textiles, Mr Dhananjaya Kumar, the Commissioner, NHDC which is under the Union Ministry of Textiles, NIFT, State offi cials and the weavers association of the village.

It was also agreed at the meeting that till the time the depot becomes operational, the Hyderabad unit of the NHDC will take the responsibility of supplying the requisite raw materials for the weavers association, Mr Nathan told Business Line.

The weavers are finding the going tough because of the high cost of handloom fabrics in comparison to the ones derived from powerlooms. In addition, the raw material price shoots up because weavers procure in small quantities. With the intervention of a centralised procurement-cum-supply point such as the depot, the costs can be brought down.

The NHDC already has depot's in Vijayawada to help the weavers from Chirala and other coastal districts. The proposed depot in Pochampally would also help weavers from the neighbouring villages such as Koyyalagudem and Puttapaka, who also produce Ikat fa brics.

The weavers from these village have created a niche in producing exquisite Ikat fabrics (also called tie and dye) in a range of designs and colours. Fine cotton and silk sarees from Pochampally are an established brand.

Though, slow to the changing needs and competition of the textile markets and consumer preferences, the weavers from this region have diversified into furnishings, scarves, bed covers, curtain cloth etc in recent years.

The NHDC, once again is the main procurer and supplier of raw silk, including China silk to the Pochampally and Puttapaka weavers. The new depot coming up in a 1,000 sq.ft. area and the tourism efforts of the State Government can provide some solace to t he weavers in the near future.

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