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Conspiracy' against eri silk industry

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

From a Correspondent

Boko, Nov 30: The culture of eri worm is prerogative to the tribal and poor families of south Kamrup and Goalpara districts. The rearing is a side avocation for thousands of families. But the craft is fast declining due to absence of proper strategy and advanced technology in different spheres. Whatever product is ultimately available is being purchased by outside traders, forcing the rearers to make a distress sale, as weavers of the area no more prefer to weave eri silk.

Rearing of eri worm is done not for income but as a heritage followed from generations. Eri culture is not an organized activity. It is a subsidiary avocation. With limited production of cocoon and yarn, an artisan is forced to sell his products at low prices unless utilized by the family. The cost of production is out of consideration. The product fabric has a distress sale.

The cocoon is spun by a primitive device (takuri) and often the yarn and fabric made, mainly in a traditiol loom, is used by the family itself. In certain areas, traders procure all cocoons produced by rearers. Once procured, these are sold at a dictated price to the spinners. Thus, the spinners are put in a disadvantageous situation. Spinners who are not rearers often pay high prices. Ultimately, the end products have a distress sale out of dire necessity of the rearers.

Constraints in every phase, from procurement of leaf to finished product and also in marketing without an economic base, are serious drawbacks for taking up eri worm rearing as a viable occupation. To bring in change, technology has been upgraded and marketing of cocoon, yarn and fabric are ratiolized as much as possible by Boko-based NGO Rasomgram, Eri Buwa Kota Sammaya Samiti, NGO, Eri Fed of Assam, NGO, and Guldasta.

Guldasta provides free training to the weavers and feedback from their R&D on eri silk, tural dye and marketing. As a result, since last 2-3 years a large market has been created by Boko based weavers in local and intertiol level. Ghanima Bibi, who is assistant secretary of Eri Buwa Kota Sammaya Samiti and also a good weaver, said, “The cost has gone up in the last five years but we are lucky enough to have got a good amount for our fabric also. Initially, we feared to purchase yarn.”

But a conspiracy is allegedly going on against the eri silk industry. A group of businessmen from Bijoygar bought Bihari Yarn, which is low-quality cotton fibre mixed with recycled yarn, and distributed among the weavers. A group of non-Assamese businessmen from Bijoygar has replaced Eri products with duplicate eri (Bihari) and this has become a matter of concern.

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