The Handloom Sector is the second largest employer in our country. It represents continuity of age old Indian heritage of hand weaving and reflects the socio-cultural traditions of the weaving communities. It is one of the most important cottage industries in Assam. In rural areas, handloom weaving is regarded as one of the most important activities and most of the rural women folk get engaged in hand weaving activities. Handloom textile cottage industry plays an important role in the socio-economic life of Assamese people. It is one of the major ways of earning livelihood next to agriculture of Assamese rural people. Assamese women from commoners to the royal houses and irrespective of caste, creed, religion, status and pursuit had woven all their required clothes and garments and other household apparels by themselves. As such Government of Assam is paying more importance for uplift of the socio-economic status of the female by launching various schemes relating to handloom technology through the Directorate of Handloom & Textiles, Assam, Guwahati and it offices / institutions situated in the different districts of the state.
Handloom & Textiles Department has an important role in enhancing the subsidiary income source through handloom weaving for the societies of the district of Chirang, BTR, Assam as there are many individuals connected to handloom weaving activities since time immemorial. The figure of individuals involved in weaving activities stands at 24196 and 24200 numbers of households are connected to handloom weaving activities according to 4th Nationwide Handloom Census carried out M/s. Karvy Data Management, Hyderabad in the year 2017-18 and released by the Ministry of Textiles, Govt. Of India in August, 2019. The agency entrusted to conduct the 4th Nationwide Handloom Census in the district, conducted survey at the sub-districts viz. i. Borobazar, ii. Borobazar Development Block, iii. Dangtola, iv. Sidli-Chirang, v. Sidli-Chirang Pt. and vi. Sidli Chirang Development Block. Some handloom weaver-concentrated areas of the district have been left out and as such weavers of those areas could not find place in the Census. The handloom weavers of the district can be categorized as Independent Weaver, Master Weaver and Weavers’ Co-operative societies.
The Bodos and certain other communities belonging to Scheduled Tribe, Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Classes of the District have inborn quality in hand weaving. Majority of the weavers use traditional methods and appliances while a certain groups apply improved looms and devices for production of fabrics. As mostly women folk are involved in weaving activity and produce only the quantity of fabrics for their domestic need, it implies a minimal contribution to the economic growth of the society and to the District as a whole. Further, Handloom weaving as a cottage industry is confronting a tough challenge posed by Power loom products. Although weavers of District happen to be quite skilled, they lag behind in quality and quantity production of fabrics and thus fetch low income against their hard work. These factors have impeded them to adopt handloom weaving as their profession and failed to attract others and their male counterpart towards weaving activities. However, their artistic products have high demand in the market and these are cherished from other parts of the country as well as those from abroad. Their products like – dokhona, aronai, jwmgra, mekhela, chaddar, saree, gamocha, eri-stole and certain other home furnishing products are cherished by all. But quantity of products seems to be quite low and hence cannot meet demand of all.
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Dwijendra Kachari, Assistant Director
(Updated on 08-08-2021)
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