Novel Coronavirus Scare Casts Its Shadow On Banarasi Saree industry

LUCKNOW || As India wakes up to the global Corona scare with reports coming in that Corona has hit Indian shores with first signs in Kerala, India remains on high alert. As advisories and repeated checks on entry points continue along with screening, the Banarasi Saree textile industry famous across the country and globally now has taken a beating.

Facing a crisis of sorts, the Novel Corona Virus spreading in China and the Chinese ban on import of 1500 tonnes of silk till February 10 has put the livelihood of seven lakh families of Banaras in danger. If the ban extends till further date, then an order of Rs 200 crore per month is sure to be affected.

The mood of the traders during Holi has been further dampened given that they see good business this season. Over one lakh weavers are associated with this industry.

Traders have been widely quoted who believe that in wedding season when dress orders are coming in, increasingly there is an issue where people cannot match up to the burden of orders coming in and hence a loss is a concern that bothers many.

With no materials, the commitments are hard to meet. Maximum use of silk is done in the Banarasi Silk Saree business which is known the world over. Directly or indirectly individuals are associated with the Saree business. They continue to work on a purchase and sale model where they are working hard to make both ends meet.

There is a lot of uneasiness among weavers. In worse situations, 40 thousand handlooms will reach the brink of stagnation. An estimate goes on to suggest that the Banarasi industry has a monthly turnover of around 200 crores. Silk has stopped coming from China due to Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, to promote silk, the Silk Fair held in China every February annually has been cancelled. In this Silk Fair, the country including Banaras is the world’s silk importer-exporter. If corrective measures to the nip the scare in the bud is not taken the collective impact is estimated to be seen in 40,000 handlooms.

While silk stocks gradually dry out, the fear is that it might impact the lives of many who may not have any other source of income.

–Arijit Bose/Lucknow

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