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Status of Weavers

Nearly every dwelling in the valley is involved in shawl weaving. Most of it focuses in and around Kullu. Lag Valley, Parbati Valley and Beas Valley have higher concentration of weavers, as it is easy to procure raw- material and marketing facilities.

There are about 20000- 22000 weavers engaged in the craft. The weavers earn Rs.20 to Rs.30 per shawl with no designs, Rs.60- Rs.500 per shawl having one traditional pattern, Rs.80- Rs.700 per shawl having two traditional patterns, Rs.80- Rs.2700 per shawl having three traditional patternsl and Rs.500- Rs.1000 per shawl with designs all over. The average earning of a craftsman is from Rs.50 per day to Rs.110 per day. Their economic condition is not satisfactory as weaving a shawl is laborious and the high cost of raw- material. The handloom weavers also have to compete with the shawls from the powerloom.

Problems of the Industry
Problem of Raw- Material : The non- availability of certain raw- materials locally causes cost of imported raw- material to be very high. Their increasing costs have resulted in increased rates of shawls and consequently demand of shawls has fallen.

Efforts should be made to provide ample raw- material at subsidized rates. It may also be suggested that the quality of locally available woolen yarn from indigenous wool may also be tried to improve with the efforts of Government of H.P. i.e. research and development, as Himachal Pradesh is traditionally a wool producing area and annual wool production is more than 1500 M.T.

The supply position of Pashmina yarn is influenced by the govt. policies of Jammu & Kashmir, as Laddakh being the main source of quality Pashmina, weavers mainly depend on them for Pashmina.

Imposition of sale tax on the purchase of raw- material has increased cost of production and hence low demand.

Problem of Marketing: Appalling condition of marketing infrastructure in the valley is a crucial problem of the native shawl industry.

The shawl weavers find it difficult to compete with the machine made shawls of Ludhiana. Consequently they do not get reasonably paid. Due to lack of awareness, entrepreneurship and proper channels for export the local weavers have to face cut- throat competition within the valley.

Sincere efforts need to be made on part of the government for imparting latest technical know- how of the looms for improving the status of weavers of the valley.

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