With the number of orders receding despite the marriage season, weavers in the silk city Berhampur in Odisha are feeling the heat of demonetization as cooperatives are unable to pay these artisans, apparently due to cap on the withdrawal limit. Sale of Berhampuri pattas have come down 60 per cent while cooperative societies are struggling to pay weavers their wages due to the cash crunch, says T Gopi, President, All Odisha Devanga Mahasangh.
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.
The Berhampur Cotton and Silk Cooperative Society is also facing problems in paying weavers. While earlier they used to take payment in cash at the time of delivery, now they are reluctant to take cheques. The cooperatives have asked weavers to open accounts in which the money would be transferred. Over a long period of time, ‘sari’ woven from Berhampuri silk, has been exported to Southeast Asian countries. The sari and joda have got the geographical indication (GI) tag from the Centre.