SIRAJGANJ, Oct 11: The traditional weaving industry is facing extinction in the two northern districts -- Sirajganj and Pabna. Owners of the traditional spinning wheels are no longer able to continue with their indigenous craft, sources said.
During their heydays, more than 6,000 women used to earn their livelihood by spinning yarn with the traditional 'charka' (wheel) but their number has dwindled to around 400 today.
Most of the women used to produce yarn on contractual basis and earned over Tk 2,500 to Tk 2,700 per month. Hundreds of people earned their living by engaging themselves in this industry. For ages they had been dependent on these traditional spinning units but today they can only partially pursue their ancestral profession.
Most of those women are without work today. Now the age-old profession is no more the main source of income because imported yarns and clothes have flooded the local markets. Besides, modern textile mills established in the district produce more durable yarn.
Maya, a traditional weaver, used to earn a substantial income by spinning yarn. Today, she cannot produce yarn in bulk due to lack of capital.
However, fortune seems to have smiled on the charka operations because of a recent initiative taken by an NGO -- Association For Social Advancement (ASA). ASA has started financing the traditional weaving industry. Many charka operations have been provided with loans on easy terms to revive the lost glory of their profession. They are now earning Tk 30,000 to Tk 35,000 per month by selling their yarns in different markets of the district.