April 17, 2006, Fibre 2 Fashion

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Commissioner, Handloom Development under Ministry of Textiles to support around 700 weaver families of Badharaganj village in Ramkola of Kushinagar district who are on the brink of starvation .

Closure of handloom workshops carrying 8 to 10 handlooms along with 2 to 4 spinning wheels in each house of the village has led to the miserable condition of the weavers.

District administration remained apathetic towards the conditions of the weavers who do not have any other means for earning their livelihood.

A report by Sanjay Srivastav, associated with Bhojan Abhiyan, was forwarded to NHRC and Chief Justice. On the direction of the Supreme Court, a two-member probe committee led by NC Saxena and Harsh Mandar was constituted to investigate in to the plight of the weavers’ families.

The committee corroborated with the finding of the report submitted by Sanjay Srivastav that informed weaving of towels, shawls and dhotis as their main profession. Other communities consisting 1,500 people were also dependent on the handloom industry for their livelihood.

The report added that till 1987 these families were self-reliant and their economic condition was quite satisfactory, but in 1998 a fire broke out in the village, which caused irreparable loss to the handloom workshops. Further, change in textile policies added to the miseries of the weavers who were left at the mercy of God.

Above all, the committee suggested provision of Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards to such families and offering them aid worth Rs50,000 to each family making them self reliant or help them re-establish their source of livelihood.