As local weavers weave sarees with hopes and dreams in their hearts, they also apprehend the recent rise in Covid-19 cases as it could induce another lockdown, jeopardizing all their tireless efforts
Owing to the pandemic, handloom and power loom workers have been counting losses since they went out of work after a countrywide restriction was imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
With no cash flowing in during last year’s Pahela Baishakh and Eid-ul-Fitr—the two annual occasions when the markets see the highest sales of Tangail sarees—many weavers fell into debt.
As a result, many skilled weavers are leaving this ancestral profession for other occupations.
According to the Bangladesh Handloom Board (BHB), more than 100,000 workers are employed in 12 upazilas of Tangail, where around 34,402 looms are operational at different factories.
However, the number of the handlooms was around 50,000 and more than 150,000 workers were engaged in the industries before the pandemic, local weavers said.
Even before the pandemic, the number of handlooms had been decreasing due to different reasons including a declining demand for sarees and an increase in the number of power looms, they added.
Regardless, the loom owners and workers say this year the weavers’ villages of Tangail are putting their best foot forward ahead of the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr in order to recoup last year’s losses.
As local weavers weave sarees with hopes and dreams in their hearts, they also apprehend the recent rise in Covid cases which could induce another lockdown, jeopardizing all their tireless efforts.
Tangail weavers produce different qualities and various kinds of sarees like cotton, jute cotton, jal cotton, benarosi, jamdani, katan, silk, half silk, soft silk, gas silk, dotari silk, jute silk, khaddar, baluchuri, tosor.
Besides, local weavers also produce suti jamdani, silk jamadani, anarkoli, dhansiri, shop silk, resham, monpura, suti kuchi and shapaira.
Raghunath Basak, former president of Tangail Weavers' Association, said: “All looms in the district have remained inactive for the past one year, the loss of which the weavers have not been able to tide over as yet.
“However, weavers are preparing to turn their luck around. They have produced new sarees ahead of the upcoming Eid. I hope the weavers will be able to use this festivity to get back on their feet.”