Sales of national flag down, weavers in distress in Hubballi | Hubballi News – Times of India
The unit was in the doldrums after the pandemic hit as it suffered a shortage of manpower and raw materials after the nationwide lockdown was imposed. The unit had hoped for a turnaround ahead of Independence Day last year, but that did not happen.
The unit sold national flags worth Rs 2.4 crore between April and January 2019-20, but until January 25 this year (2020-21), it sold only Rs 1.1 crore worth of flags. Due to flagging sales, salaries of many employees have either been delayed or withheld for the past three months.
With the number of fresh Covid-19 cases coming down and with the vaccination drive in full flow, KKGSS is hoping sales improve ahead of this year’s Independence Day.
Shivanand Mathapati, secretary, KKGSS, said after the lockdown was lifted, the unit began receiving raw materials and had hoped to recoup losses ahead of Independence Day celebrations last year. But the response was poor.
“We expected bumper orders compared to past years from across the country, but sales were poor,” Mathapati said. “As a result, we found it difficult to pay salaries of employees for three months. Sales are poor because schools and colleges are closed and even government and private offices in many states are either closed or operating with limited staff. Celebrations are on hold.”
He said the unit had worked hard to produce flags of different sizes, but are now stuck with a lot of finished products.
Savitribai, a weaver affiliated to the unit, said the condition of employees is turning from bad to worse and if the situation continues they would be in deep trouble. “Governments should pay attention to khadi weavers and should extend a helping hand,” she said.
Weavers said if the state government clears pending incentive of Rs 105 crores — Rs 3 crore of which is due to KKGSS — it would be a big relief. “But the government is not releasing funds and that’s very unfortunate,” said many weavers.