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Quality deficit can only be annulled by modern, advanced machines: Experts
Friday June 27, 2014 12:25 PM, Staff Reporter

The skill and talent that the weavers in Malegaon claim to have are being compromised by the outdated and discarded machines that they are using, and if they really want to survive with their ancestor's more than a century-year-old trade, they should without further delay opt for advanced and modern looms, textile industry experts advised in one voice.

Malegaon buyer seller meet

"Malegaon today is producing two crore meters of fabrics every day. But, they all are of low-cost, low-quality grey fabrics having demand only in a limited and low-profit market. To change this and for future survival, weavers need to upgrade their machineries as early as possible", the buyers, who came in large number from different parts of Maharashtra, said concluding the two-day buyer-seller meet held in Malegaon by the Ministry of Textiles through its Regional Office, Belapur, Navi Mumbai.

Of the total 2.3 million powerlooms in the country, Malegaon alone has 2.5 lakh powerlooms – all outdated, second-hand and discarded plain powerlooms. The city despite all government's efforts could not have a single shuttle-less, rapier, water-jet or air-jet machine so far.

Harakchand Jain, a trader on whom over a hundred weavers depend and who exports coloured-sarees manufactured in Malegaon to Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa and other countries said that there was a huge demand of Malegaon products in domestic and international market.

"However, two things are major hindrances in meeting these demands. First, 20% of the total stock he buys from the weavers has minor defects. Second, timely delivery is still a dream. Both these shortcomings can only be rectified if the weavers change their machines", he said while talking to at the end of the two-day event Thursday.

He also said that change in design also is a time consuming process in Malegaon. "If compared with modern machines where new design can be changed within minutes and on running machines, in Malegaon it takes more than a week and after a lot of labour", he said.

The weavers on the other hand said the modern machines are too expensive for them to afford. They said they realised the importance of modernisation but they were helpless as they did not have the needed funds.

"An ordinary powerloom costs Rs.40,000 but the cost of the lowest model rapier machine is Rs.04 lakh – ten times more than the ordinary one. We are willing to upgrade but we don not have sufficient money", Ashfaque Hasan, a weaver, said.

The officials of the Ministry of Textiles do not agree. They said that there are schemes announced by the government, and interested weavers can take advantage of these schemes for financial support.

"The hire-purchase scheme introduced in Revised Restructured Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (RR-TUFS) is in fact designed looking at the needs of the small weavers in the decentralised textile clusters. Taking benefit of this scheme, a weaver can purchase advanced and modern looms even if he has limited capital", said S.R. Dhanawadkar, Deputy Director and Officer Incharge Regional Office of the Textile Commissioner.

The event, organised first time in Malegaon, was the brain-child of Textile Commissioner Ms Kiran Soni Gupta, who after visiting one of the oldest cluster of the country, promised measures for its speedy growth.

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