April 20, 2024, 6:53 am

Bogura, Sirajganj weavers in dire straits

  • Update Time : Sunday, January 7, 2024
  • 49 Time View

Raw material crisis behind soaring prices of yarn, dye

Sky Report:

Weavers of Bogura and Sirajganj are now in dire straits due to soaring prices of dye and yarn amid rising of raw material prices in the international market forcing many of them to shut down their businesses.

Besides, entering Indian Saree and clothes into the country’s markets throughout different border routes has caused of reducing demand for the locally made loom products. Due to low cost of Indian clothes, many are inclining into the Indian Saree and three pieces instead of purchasing handloom products.

In this situation, many weaving factories may be forced to shut down, if the prices of yarn and dye remain unchanged and volatile in the upcoming days.

Many artisans of Benarashi village in Sherpur upazila of Bogura district and handloom workers of Belkuchi, Shahzadpur, Chowhali, Kazipur and Sirajganj Sadar upazila in Sirajganj district have already changed their profession and are now carrying their livelihoods by pulling rickshaws or vans for the need of living, while many are on way to leave the profession due to drastic fall of weaving products’ demand and prices.

Insiders said, the prices of yarn and dye have increased two to three times in the last few months centering low production of those two crucial ingredients caused by extreme crisis of raw materials. Traders and industrialists can’t import sufficient raw materials for dollar crisis and LC (letter of credit) complications that spring up from the beginning of Russia-Ukraine war.

Local sources said, a good number of artisans, who are involved with the producing of Benarashi Saree, live in Gholagari Colony in Sherpur upazila of Bogura district. Locals know them as Bihari as many of them came from Bihar state of India many years ago.

Another community of the weavers lives in Nadiapara village, adjacent of Gholagari Colony in the same upazila of Bogura district. As per the state of history, the name of Nadiapara village was made as their ancestors came from Nadia district of India and started residing in the village after establishing residents. Over 200 families of the two villages in Sherpur upazila of Bogura district have been involved with the producing Benarashi Saree for long. But now, their trading has reached on the verge of ruination due to price hike of yarn and dye as well as availability of Indian clothes in different local markets. To compete with the current situation, many artisans of the Benarashi villages have changed their strategies and started producing Zamdani, Katan and Dhupian Saree instead of producing handloom products with the aim to survive in the competitive markets.

During a spot visit to the Benarashi villages, this correspondent found that, most of the factories were closed, while some were fighting to survive in the competitive markets by producing Katan and Zamdani Sarees as alternative. Those Sarees are sold between Tk 18,000 and Tk 20,000 to some showroom owners in Mirpur of Dhaka, weavers said.

Besides, Belkuchi, Shahzadpur, Chowhali, Ullapara, Kazipur and Sirajganj Sadar upazila are rich and prominent in the country for high quality of handloom products especially for Saree, Lungi and Gamchha (napkin). But many weavers in the areas are now looking for new jobs due to poor income in this sector. Due to high production costs of clothes, they can’t adjust their living costs with their earnings. They are being forced to leave their profession and are searching new works. About one lakh handloom factories out of three lakh in the five upazilas of Sirajganj district have already been closed in the last one and half year due to different crisis.

Azahar Ali, 45, a weaver of Nadiapara Benarashi village in Sherpur upazila of Bogura district said, “The production of Benarashi Saree has decreased compared to previous years due to abnormal price hike of yarn and dye. However, I have eight looms in my factory, where 12 workers are involved in production. But I can’t pay their wages timely due to poor sale. I can’t purchase yarn and dye as per my need for soaring prices. Besides, recent political turmoil hits our business severely.”

Fazal Mian, 55, a handloom factory owner of Belkuchi in Sirajganj district said, “Six handlooms out of 20 in my factory have been closed in the last six months due to high prices of necessary ingredients. Many more are on the way to shut down.”

Hazi Badiuzzaman, President of Bangladesh Handloom and Power-loom owners Association’s Sirajganj district unit said, “The price of per pound different type of cottons has increased by Tk 120 to Tk 150, while the price of dye has increased in a same scale. As a result, weavers can’t afford the costs. They are leaving the profession one after one.”

In this circumstance, the weavers urged the government and NGOs to lend their helping hands to them by providing interest free loan with the aim to protect the traditional industry.

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