Loom workers busy at work filling their orders ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr this year. Photo: Star
Weavers of Pabna and Sirajganj districts, one of the biggest cloth producing zones across the country experienced heathy sales this Eid due to high demand for handloom cloths. Stable yarn prices made the weavers hopeful, and they are hopeful about high profits this year.
About 4.5 lakh looms including handlooms and power looms are engaged in production in 10 upazilas of Pabna and Sirajganj districts. Power outages hampered the production but the weavers are still happy given that the demand for their products are high.
"Power supply was unavailable for 8 to 10 hours everyday," said Md. Al Amin Hossain, owner of Al-Amin Weaving factory of Jalalpur village in Pabna Sadar upazila. He operates 24 power looms in his factory targeting to produce 150 to 160 pieces of 'lungees' everyday, but thanks to the power outage, his output falls to 100 to 110 pieces. Despite the production fall, the good market price of the handloom cloths allowed his business to stay profitable.
Weavers of Shahzadpur, Ullahpara, Chowhali (Enayetpur) , Kazipur, Belkuchi and Sirajganje Sadar upazila of Sirajganje district and Bera, Santhia, Sujanagar and Pabna Sadar upazila of Pabna seemed very busy producing cloths ahead of the festival but they all suffer from similar infrastructural problems.
"On top of power shortages, the incessant rain for the last three weeks of Ramadan also hampered production, but this affected mostly the marginal weavers," said Md. Farid Hossain, a marginal weaver of Dogasi village in Pabna. He could not operate his three looms randomly due to lack of workers. “Weavers working in my factory could not come to work regularly due to continuous rain so the production was hampered," he added. Farid also said that he had to produce 12 to 15 pieces of cloths every day due to increasing demand. I am fortunate that I could recover the losses of previous years as the yearn price is stable this year. “Each bundle of yarn is being sold at Tk. 2,700 to 3,000, which is comparatively better than previous years. Now we can easily earn Tk. 30 to 40 profit for each piece Lungee.” Farid also added that the price of colour dyes have doubled in the last three months.
“About 5.5 to 6 crore pieces of handloom cloths including 'Sharees' and 'Lungees' have been produced in the month of Ramadan,” said Md. Haidar Ali, Vice President of Bangladesh Handloom and Power loom Owners Association, also the President of Sirajganj District Unit. He also added that at least 70 to 75 percent of the total demand of handloom cloths of the country is met from Pabna and Sirajganj.
Weavers of the two districts sell their products at the two largest handloom cloths haats, one in Shahzadpur of Sirajganj and another in Ataikula of Pabna. Handloom cloths are disseminated across the country from these two haats..