Hyderabad: The BJP has criticized the State and Central Governments for neglecting the hand workers’ welfare resulting in their suicides and hunger deaths.
Speaking to the media here today along with the party’s Telangana struggle committee co-chairman Mr C Ashok Kumar, BJP national Secretary Mr P Murlidhar Rao said it was unfortunate that the Governments were neglecting the handloom sector which stood in second place in the country next only to agriculture. More than 1.30 crore workers were dependant on handlooms in the country, of whom 60 per cent were women, 12 per cent SCs, 20 per cent STs. He said Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and West Bengal alone accounted for 75 per cent of handloom production, and the sector is contributing significantly for the country’s revenues.
Referring to Andhra Pradesh, Mr Murlidhar Rao regretted that the budget allocation for handloom sector, which was Rs.752 crore during 1998-99 had come down to Rs.349 crore in 2004-05, and this clearly exposed the negligent attitude of the Government towards handloom industry. The Government has been shedding crocodile tears saying it was wedded for welfare of handloom industry and the workers, but in reality not even 45 per cent of the allocated funds were being spent on their welfare. Nearly 25 lakh families in the State were depending on handloom industry, he added.
The BJP leader took the Minister for Handlooms Mr P Shankar Rao to task for stating that 694 suicides and hunger deaths of handloom workers took place in the State, while the actual number was 1900. He said that if Gandhiji’s dream of gram swaraj Is to be realized, handloom weavers’ welfare should be taken care of effectively.