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Apr 27, 2009

Integrated Handloom Cluster Development ProgrammE @ Sirumugai

Sirumugai, near Coimbatore, is one of the 40 handloom clusters in the State covered under the Integrated Handloom Cluster Development Programme. “Each cluster takes need-based activity with government support in the three-year project,” according to Vishwanath Shegaonkar, State Secretary for Handlooms, Handicrafts, Textiles and Khadi Department.

The programme was implemented in three clusters – Tiruchi, Kurinjipadi and Tiruvanamalai, in phase one and each centre received Rs. 2 crore. Under the integrated cluster programme, works could be taken up for infrastructure, marketing, loom replacement, new design development and diversification. The activities were done through co-operative societies. Thirty-seven more clusters were identified for phase two and three and each received about Rs. 60 lakh, he said. These included Sirumugai, Tirupur, Palani, Srivilliputhur and Gudiyattam.


K. Prem Kumar, cluster development executive for Sirumugai, told ‘The Hindu’ that the cluster, covering Sirumugai, Ballepalayam and Jadayampalayam panchayats, had 537 beneficiaries, including 341 co-operative society weavers. The weavers made cotton sarees, Kora and cotton silk sarees and pure silk sarees. Currently, about 60 per cent members were involved in silk weaving. During the last one year, the members had gone on exposure visits to Andhra Pradesh and Arani. They had started a yarn depot and achieved Rs. 9 lakh sales. They would be given accessories shortly. It was also proposed to construct a common facility to make weaving preparatory and house the yarn depot.


“When we started the cluster, the weavers were making simple design sarees with small borders,” he said. The weavers used to earn Rs. 200 a day on an average. Now, the wages had gone up to Rs. 250 to Rs. 300. With the help of a designer, several new designs were being tried out. For instance, design themes such as “kolam”, “deepam” and new materials such as jute were incorporated in saree weaving. This fetched higher prices for the products. Marketing was mainly supported by Co-optex. The cost of a saree woven by them now was Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 6,000, he said.

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