State to set up 10 more 'Suto hubs' to save weavers from 'middlemen'

State to set up 10 more Suto hubs to save weavers from middlemen

kolkata: In a major move to ensure that weavers of Bengal get thread at the right price without the involvement of middlemen, the state government will set up 10 "Suto Hubs (thread hub)" across the state.

Threads will be distributed among weavers from these hubs at a price fixed by the state government, nullifying all scope for middlemen to control the rate of the raw material.

The initiative has been taken up to help weavers avoid paying exorbitant prices to procure thread through middlemen that in turn increases the production cost of weaved clothes. A reduced production cost will help weavers fetch more profit and help them bid a competitive price for their produce in the national and international markets.

Identifying that the price of thread goes up with only a section of middlemen - mainly from Burrabazar area - controlling the entire trade and "indirectly" compelling marginal weavers to procure thread at a much high rate fixed by them, the state's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles (MSME and T) department has taken up the step to procure and distribute threads among weavers at a price fixed by the government from the 'Suto hubs.'

The thread is imported mainly from Gujarat and the middlemen here mint money taking a "hefty commission," causing a major cause of concern for the weavers. Initially, two hubs are coming up. The one at Purbasthali in East Burdwan is about to get completed. The second hub is coming up in Cooch Behar. With the success of the two initial hubs, the MSME and T department will set up eight more at different strategic locations.

When contacted, the MSME minister Chandranath Sinha said: "Weavers will be heavily benefitted with the setting up of the hubs as they can directly procure thread at the right price that will be fixed by the government."

The MSME department has also set a target of three years in making the state self-dependent in production of fabric as well. This comes when there is an annual requirement of around 6 crore metre fabric in the state, where school uniform is provided free-of-cost to students in primary section.

Even though MSME department is not handling the matter related to providing shoes and bags to school goers, it is taking up necessary steps, keeping in mind the message of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that a single rupee corruption in delivering the goods for the people from financially weaker sections will not be tolerated.

The global tender for direct procurement of 5 crore metre fabric comes with a clause allowing cancellation of order in case of deviation of more than 10 per cent. Earlier, the fabric used to come from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Now one crore metre is produced in Tamralipta and Kangshabati mills in Bengal. The procured fabric with a particular logo, restricting sale in the open market, will be distributed in districts to stitch uniforms.

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