Weavers in ‘silk city’ Berhampur are feeling the heat of demonetisation, with number of orders dwindling despite it being the marriage season, as cooperatives are unable to pay these artisans, apparently due to cap on the withdrawal limit. “The sale of Berhampuri patta has come down by 60 per cent while the cooperative societies struggle to pay weavers their wages due to the cash crunch,” said T Gopi, President of All Odisha Devanga Mahasangh, the federation of traditional weavers’ community.
There is a huge demand for ‘Berhampuri pattas’, famous for its ‘phoda kumbha’ and ‘patta’ and ‘joda’ (for men). These are mostly sold through cooperative societies like’Boyanika’. The annual sales turnover of the ‘patta’ is around Rs 2.50 crore to Rs 3 crore. “We sell at least 10 pieces of patta a month on an average. Now the number has come down to 3 to 4,” said a weaver.
The Berhampur Cotton and Silk Cooperative Society is also facing problems in paying its weavers, said a member of the society, J Prakash. “Earlier, we used to pay them in cash when they delivered. Now they are reluctant to take cheques,” he said. The cooperatives have asked weavers to open accounts in which the money will be transferred.
Over a long period of time, ‘sari’ (an Indian garment for women) woven from the Berhampuri silk, has been exported to south east Asian countries. The sari and joda have got the geographical indication (GI) tag from the Centre.