Weavers' body not happy with APCO's tie-up with Amazon

Rajahmundry: Weavers’ societies in the state are not happy with the government’s move to market handloom products through e-commerce giant Amazon. The Andhra Pradesh Handloom Weavers Cooperative Society (APCO), on Tuesday, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Amazon to promote and sell handloom products. The move is aimed at creating an international market for local handloom products like saris, towels, dress materials, bedsheets etc.
But many local weavers’ societies are not enamoured by the government’s initiative and want APCO to clear their pending dues first before going ahead with the plan to sell their products online. There are about 900 weavers’ societies in AP, who claim APCO owes them nearly Rs 100 crore towards arrears, which amounts to almost the entire working capital of these societies. APCO claims it is waiting for social welfare hostels in the state to clear Rs 176 crore towards uniform and bedding material supplied to them, and will pay the societies once it gets the amount.
Talking to this paper, Donthamsetty Virupaksham, chairman of state federation of weavers’ cooperative societies, said the present condition of weavers’ societies is not suitable for online business. “Online products are mostly bought by rich and educated people. But online buyers also prefer good and quality products like Uppada Jamdani sarees which are not procured by APCO. Handloom products mainly cater to the needs of the poor and middle-class people,” he said.
He also lamented that the condition of APCO showrooms were in a poor state. “APCO showrooms are spread across the country but are not being maintained properly. They should be renovated first,” he suggested, while adding that to enhance handloom products’ online presence, special attention should be given to add skilled varieties like Jamdani which can increase online sales.
On the other hand, AP government has announced Rs 24,000 for every weaver with a loom per annum, which is making a number of weavers who diverted to other professions to return to weaving with new hope. The onus is now on the weavers’ societies to work more efficiently to give a boost to the dying profession.

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