Sirajganj, July 2: The traditional handloom Industry in Sirajganj and Pabna districts is now in dire straits and the reasons are smuggled Indian yarn, dearth of capital, high price of raw material and absence of loan facility. Natural calamities, extortion and lack of incentives to handloom workers have also contributed to the closure of scores of handloom factories.
It was gathered that at least 50,000 handlooms in the 10 upazilas of Sirajganj and Pabna districts have been shut down in the past 5 years throwing thousands out of employment.
Sirajganj (once under Pabna district) and Pabna were once famous for producing different handloom items like sari, lungi, gamchha, vest, etc. Gamchhas produced here were very popular among the people of middle and low-income groups in the country. However, production in these factories has come down drastically these days.
A source at the district Handloom Board said that about 70 per cent of the handloom units in the two districts mentioned were shut down due to unabated entrance of India yarn it into the country. The products of these factories could not compete with those made by Indian yarn. Besides the handloom factories with inadequate capital could no longer produce quality items for the local market. Price hike of raw materials has also contributed to the destruction of this industry.
Sources said floodwater that entered the factory premises damaged most of the looms. As a result a large number of factories had to be closed down rendering scores of the people jobless. Those people along with their families have been passing their days in great hardship.
Some handloom workers of Kalidash Ganti village of Sadar upazila under Sirajganj district told this correspondent that they had been dependent on this traditional industry for their survival, that the income from the ancestral occupation was enough to keep body and soul together. Unfortunately, their golden days are over. Some flood-effected families have appealed to the government for rehabilitation but have so far received no response in this regard.