Bhubaneswar: Rajya Sabha member and BJD senior leader Amar Patnaik has writter a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik requesting him to approve special livelihood assistance to weavers and craftsmen in view of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
In the letter, the MP highlighted that weavers and craftsmen, who employ the second largest people after agriculture but currently living in a pitiable condition, have been left out of the comprehensive Rs 1690 crore financial package announced recently.
“Handloom weavers of Odisha have been facing difficulties in selling their products and getting necessary input materials due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns since March last year. The second wave of the pandemic has further aggravated their situation,” the MP said.
“They are skilled workers who cannot seek jobs under MGNREGS as it would be beneath their dignity. Those in private sector and not within the state Government’s cooperative sector are mainly affected. They neither do know who to approach nor do the district level line department officials have any record of them except those who are members of the weavers’ co-operative societies. Government programmes in textile sector mostly reach weavers in co-operative sector only,” he stressed.
The Parliamentarian approached the CM to consider approving an one-time COVID monthly assistance, similar on the lines of KALIA scheme, to families of weavers and craftsmen for one to two years until they tide over the current crisis and its impact which would continue to be felt by them for several years.