Assam silk industry losses Rs.100 crore due to COVID-19 lockdown:

Guwahati, May 5: Assam silk industry losses Rs.100 crore. Over 20,000 weavers and allied workers of Sualkuchi – the hub of Assam’s silk industry facing uncertainties as the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic badly hit the entire silk industry.

The silk industry of Assam has faced losses of Rs 100 crore during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

Assam has a rich textile cultural tradition with three primary indigenous silks – Golden Muga, White Pat, and Warm Eri, and Sualkuchi is known as the hub of the state’s silk industry located 35 km west from Guwahati – the capital city of Assam.

Assam is well known for the production of high-quality silk since ancient times.

But the Coronavirus lockdown has had a devastating impact on the weavers and allied workers and over 200 wholesale traders of Sualkuchi.

The handloom owners have now been forced to stop their production after they had failed to find the market to sell their production silk cloths due to the ongoing lockdown.

Assamese Rongali Bihu season – April-May month is the peak sale season and the weavers, workers, owners, and traders of the silk industry have waited for this season every year, but the Coronavirus stuck the peak sale season this year.

Annamalai Kalita – a female weaver of the Sualkuchi area who also runs several handlooms said that, they are facing a lot of problems.

“We have not able to sell our products. There is no market due to lockdown. We are now facing money problems. Many weavers are also facing a food crisis,” Annamai Kalita said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, maximum marriages have been canceled or postponed and this year’s Rongali Bihu celebrations also put off and it has drastically impacted in the silk industry business.

35-year-old Bhanita Das hailing from Nalbari said that, she came to Sualkuchi to earn some money by weaving a few months ago.

“But the loom owners have not able to pay us because of no sale of any production. From owners to weavers and other workers all are facing many difficulties,” Bhanita Das said.

Assam is the third-largest silk production state in the country and the state had produced 5029 MT of raw silk in 2018-19.

Assam contributes almost 90 percent of Muga silk and 65 percent of Eri silk production in the country.

But the local production is not sufficient and forcing the weavers, loom owners to buy yarns from China and due to COVID-19, China had stopped the export since March.