Journey of a Village from Handguns to Handloom

Journey of a Village from Handguns to Handloom
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Moinaguri Village, Popularly Known As Weavers Village in Assam, Piloted Itself Towards The Journey of Handloom from Handguns 

  

Moinaguri is a tribal village located in the Kokrajhar district in Assam. Kokrajhar is situated in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). BTR, along with Moinaguri, was once affected by the nuisance of militancy and is now known as Weavers Village.  

The village hosts 66 families, is dominated by Rabha Tribe and is situated near Indo Bhutan Border.  

A few years back, when insurgency was at its pinnacle, the villagers were forced to live in poor conditions due to the ill effects of insurgency. Ordinary people feared visiting the village to purchase cloth or make orders, and some joined militancy as there was a developmental and income deficit in the region.

But now, almost all the families are engaged in handloom weaving activities, and people do not hesitate to enter the village as the menace of militancy is over after the Central Government inked an agreement with Bodo insurgent’s groups.

The arrival of peace has helped residents of Moinaguri to sustain their livelihoods and fulfil necessities. Hiranya Devi, Superintendent of Handloom and Textile Department, Gossaigaon, said, “Tribal families in the village possess knowledge about natural colors, and also most of tribal population is familiar or associated with weaving.

Our department provided all needed support to talented aspiring weavers in terms of free looms, yarn and other materials required. We’ve also erected sheds to enable weavers to work during rainy days”.  

Rundumi Koch, a resident and worker from Moinaguri, said, “There are 66 families in the village all engaged in the profession of cloth making/weaving, It helps them to run their households and afford other expenses including education” She appealed to the Assam Government and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) to help villagers in terms of cloth making machines, facilitating market access and providing financial support. 

The handloom sector in India contributes to 15% of total cloth production (Next to power looms which add up to 60% of production). Around 35 Lakh workers are engaged in the handloom sector. The handloom industry in India faces several issues.

The industry lacks the source of institutional finance as many financial institutions hesitate to lend to them. Marketing and Branding of handloom products are far below than clothes made using power looms.

Consumer behavior also plays a vital role in the growth of the industry. Most of the consumers do not prefer clothes made using handloom mainly because of their price factor. 

The Government took some reasonable steps to support the Handloom industry. It aims to achieve the target of Rs. Ten thousand crores from the export of handloom products.

The Government enabled weavers to directly sell their produce to Government organizations via Government E-Marketplace (GeM). 63 Samarth Training Centers helps to skill fresher’s and upskill existing workers with various skills, including weaving, dyeing, designing.

Hunar Haat’s are organized to showcase and sell different products made by tribal’s. Khadi and Village Industry Commission is instituting Training centers for tribal’s in North East Region.

Further, the Government can help Small weavers market and sell their products using appropriate technology; it can guarantee financial institutions to lend credit to handloom weavers. Can educate consumers over socio-environmental and economic benefits of using handloom products over conventional ones. 

India is bestowed with a good pool of talented weavers and sizable cotton production and varieties of highly valued silks, including Mulberry, Eri, Muga, Tropical Tasar, etc. Government (both centre and state) must pace up developmental works to effectively combat insurgency.

The Government, along with the private sector, should leverage this opportunity to increase the income of the tribal population, provide direct and indirect employment to lakhs of people, increase exports from India, and finally augment the country’s domestic product. 

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