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Bhagalpur silk industry.

No takers of cocoon farmers, Bhagalpuri silk languishing


April 21st, 2017

Our Bureau


Bhagalpur : Much expectations were generated with Narendar Modi’s recent tour to China and Korea  0n 2015 for the possible of revival of ancient silk route to India. People had expected lots at Bhagalpur, known as the ancient silk city, with that visit of Modi.

But on the otherhand, very few are concerned about the pains and plights of indigenous silk manufactures here better known as Bhagalpuri silk manufactures.

Apart from different causes for braking down the silk fivers of Bhagalpur, changing climatic conditions put crusade for the Tasar quality of silk manufactured here.

Taking advantages of such situations, silk smugglers managed to replace traditional Tasar silk cocoons with China-Korea yarns ( synthetic silk threads) in this century old Bhagalpuri silk industry. Weavers here started rampant use of the foreign yarns in manufacturing silk cloths after availing the opportunity to have the foreign threads comparatively in low rates. Bhagalpuri silk gradually lost its credentials in work markets after the introduction of foreign yarns.

cocoon : the main source of Tasar yarn.


Adverse weather conditions and rapid change in climatic conditions also fell a negative impact on cocoon productions, the famous silk industry here. Many involved in manufacturing silk threads from cocoons and weaving silk cloths here started switching over to other occupations or even started migrated to other places in search of greener pastures.

“Before 1998 my family members including women used to prepare Tasar yarns and we male members used to prepare cloths and other processing but the riot had snatched our lively hoods. Despite the fact I continued my business with foreign yarns but I had to face many obstacles and finally in 2009 migrated to Delhi where I am working at a factory,” said Md Sazzad, a former weaver at Radhanagar village in Bhagalpur. Md Gani another daily wage earner associated with silk industry here migrated to Bengaluru in 2010 but due to the Note Bandi episode, he compelled to returned back here in December 2016. “I didn’t get any job as the silk industry here was in a bad position. Finally I have started pulling rickshaw on the streets of Bhagalpur for my livelihoods,” Gani narrated his plight.

Silk yarns before putting on looms.


Sources from Basic seeds and Multiplication and training center located at Zero mile, Bhagalpur said that cocoon productions have to face massive damage due to the adverse climatic conditions.

“Since silk cocoons are produced on the trees under the open sky, the changing attitude of climate threat maximum on it like other crops,” the sources pointed out.

Echoing the version, Shyam Behari Gupta, former principal of Bihar institute of silk and textile, Bhagalpur, a reputed institute in Asia for sericulture, said that rapid changing in temperatures mainly due to changing of climate, hampers the cocoons’ productivity. “Since there is specific timing for the silk cocoons and maintaining of humanities are very important factors for the cocoons but due to the adverse climatic changing which are beyond our control, there is a sharp decline in cocoone productivities in this region,” he pointed out.

Silk yarns after colouring.


Expert concerned in silk said that proper strategies should be adopted for promoting cocoon production as well as measures for protecting it from Nature’s vagaries. “Scientists at Bihar Agriculture University (BAU), Sabour have been devised varieties of seeds for foods, fruits keeping in view the changing pattern of climatic conditions. Efforts should be initiated by the concerned sericulture experts and sericulture institutes for such efforts,” the expert said. The much auspicious Mukhmantri Tasar Vikash Pariyojana, a project for boost up Tasar silk production in Bihar with Rs 170 crores investments, has little progress. It was targeted to plant Asan and Arjuna plants in 13530 hector of lands in Gaya, Munger, Nawada, Kaimur, Banka and Jamui for production of Tasar silk cocoons during 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years but till now only 6000 hector of lands could be utilized for it. Presently the state produces 38 matric tons of Tasar yarns and it was targeted to produce 96 matric tons by 2017 while the demands by the weavers here are nearly 1000 matric tons of yarns, the sources said.

“I have a little doubt wheather to meet the target in 2017 or not. We had started the much auspicious project from Kotoria in 2012 and the basic aim was to provide income generating opportunities to the people in naxalite dominated places but after my retirement I do not see any improvements,” Gupta alleged.

Mukutdhari Agarwal, president of Eastern Bihar Industry Association, lambasted the policy makers directly. “The government allows for the rampant use of foreign yarns and in the case with Bhagalpuri silk, foreign yarns like China-Korea yarns has replaced the indigenous silk yarn. The government should adopt policy for promoting indigenous yarns,” he said.

(to be concluded)

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