Weavers resort to ‘suicide’ in Telangana amid debt trap, no livelihood | India News

Weavers resort to ‘suicide’ in Telangana amid debt trap, no livelihood | India News

Weavers resort to ‘suicide’ in Telangana amid debt trap, no livelihood | India News

The ‘recent’ suicide’ of a weaver at Sircilla in Telangana has brought to the fore the alleged lack of work and adequate income in this textile hub. Image: Shutterstock

The ‘recent’ suicide’ of a weaver at Sircilla in Telangana has brought to the fore the alleged lack of work and adequate income in this textile hub, with the issue leading to a war of words between the opposition BRS and the Congress.

Kudikyala Nagaraju recently died by suicide as he was unable to repay his debts and this came as a reminder of the tragedy of weavers ending their lives in the past.

While it is being claimed 10 weavers have ended their life so far this year, the government has pegged the number at six, even as the BRS attacked the ruling Congress over the matter.

Nagaraju (47), a weaver, took his life by consuming acid at Sircilla recently.

“My husband borrowed some amount and failed to repay the lenders. He did not have the livelihood to take care of me and our two sons,” Nagaraju’s wife Lavanya told PTI.

Similar is the story of Adicherla Sai Kumar (25) who committed ‘suicide’ in April this year as he was unable to repay the money he borrowed.

“My brother was working in a powerloom in Sircilla. He had no work for some time due to the closure of powerlooms in the area. He borrowed money and failed to repay it,” said Mahender, sibling of the deceased.

Sircilla, located in Telangana’s Karimnagar is now home to about 10,000 powerlooms, down from the 27,000 in the past. About 9,000 to 10,000 families are dependent on them for livelihood, CITU’s Powerloom Workers Union State President Musha Ramesh said.

The workers had orders during the previous government to make sarees and school uniforms which used to be distributed to the poor free of cost. But, the powerloom workers are without work now, he claimed.

They resort to taking debts to meet their expenses and face distress when they are unable to repay the loans, Ramesh said.

According to him, 10 weavers took the extreme step in Sircilla district during this year.

The ‘suicide’ of Kudikyala Nagaraju also led to a war of words between BRS Working President K T Rama Rao, who represents Sircilla in the state Assembly, and Telangana Textiles Minister Tummala Nageswara Rao.

In an open letter addressed to Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, Rama Rao accused the government of being responsible for the alleged suicides of weavers due to lack of work.

The deaths of weavers are not mere suicides but ‘government-induced deaths’, he charged.

He too claimed that about 10 weavers have ended their lives in recent times due to lack of work and income.

The BRS government had ensured livelihood to the weavers by placing orders to make school uniforms and also sarees which were given to the poor on the occasion of festivals, he said.

Rama Rao alleged that the Congress government’s failure to continue the welfare schemes and orders for work initiated by the previous administration has resulted in weavers losing their livelihood and facing severe financial distress.

He demanded an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh each to the kin of the deceased weavers.

Rama Rao urged the government to immediately resume and implement the welfare schemes and support programmes implemented by the previous BRS regime, the powerloom subsidies and orders for school uniforms to boost the weavers’ employment.

State Minister Nageswara Rao hit back at Rama Rao, alleging that the previous BRS government had thrown the weavers into a crisis by not paying them for the orders it had placed.

The Congress government is clearing the pending dues of the BRS regime and it is taking planned steps to improve the living standards of weavers, he said in a release.

The government is also placing orders with the weavers to ensure work for them, he added.

It would take steps to investigate the suicides of six weavers who ended their lives since January this year and to pay ex-gratia to them, the minister said.

Highlighting the steps taken by his government, Rao said the government decided to use the budget of Rs 400 crore for modernisation of handlooms and powerlooms.

The government, since it assumed office in December last year, has so far released Rs 53 crore to purchase clothes from the primary handloom cooperative society members, he said.

It has also released Rs 33.23 crore as 10 per cent yarn subsidy to the weavers since it came to office, the minister said.

A large number of ‘suicides’ of weavers had been reported from Sircilla in the past as well.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Jun 30 2024 | 9:37 AM IST

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