PABNA, June 15: The weavers here have been passing busy days ahead of the biggest Muslim festival - Eid-ul-Fitr. They will not get any holiday till the Eid.
Sellers of over 300 large wholesale shops at Shahjadpur Tant Kaporer haat, Pabna Ataikula and Banogram haat, the biggest wholesale market of greater Pabna district, are also busy as the traders from different parts of the country are thronging there to buy saris and other clothes including lungi and gamchha.
The areas noted for weaving industry are situated in Shahjadpur, Ullahpara, Chowhali (Enayetpur), Kazipur, Belkuchi and Sadar upazilas of Sirajganj district and Bera, Santhia, Sujanagar and Sadar upazilas of Pabna district.
'Now more than 3.5 lakh looms are running in 10 upazilas of the two districts with a target to produce two crore pieces of handloom clothes. At least 70 per cent of the country's demand for the clothes is met from this zone,' said Md Haidar Ali, vice-president of Bangladesh Handloom and Power Loom Owners Association and also president of Sirajganj district unit of the association.
Around 50 per cent of the total production of the two districts is exported to India, while the demand soars up ahead of Eid, Haider added.
Kalim Uddin, a weaver of Jalalpur told this correspondent that most of the weavers of the area are working round the clock for producing the traditional and historic tant saris.
More than thousand pieces of Pabna saris are sold in different parts of Bangladesh and also exported to India which has created an extra pressure on the weavers.
It is gathered from sources that Pabna saris are famous at home and abroad. Bera, Shanthia, Sujanagar, and Pabna Sadar upazila are famous for producing Pabna saris.
Hanif, a 37-year old weaver said to this correspondent, "We are extremely busy in making the saris round the clock. The prices of lungi and sari are not bad at national and Indian markets. Young girls and newly-married women are more interested to buy Pabna and Shahajadpur saris rather than the Indian ones."
Abdul Jalil, a producer, informed that the weavers here got huge orders from the traders of Chittagong and Sylhet this year. The saris have great demand in Kolkata of India also. But due to worker crisis, the supply of the saris against the orders may not be possible.
It is gathered that Zamdani, soft silk, half silk, Dhotori, Dengu, Resom, Tosor, Baluchuri, Fortly, Gas silk and various qualities of cotton saris are produced in the zone and sent to different districts.
A weaver Moni Montu produces cotton net sari which is being sold at Tk 3,200 per piece while Jute Katan is selling at Tk 7,800, Madraji Cotton and Tant Benaroshi at Tk 2,450, ND Silk at Tk 4,000, Contact Kuchi Ball at Tk 4,150, Net Jute Silk at Tk 6,000 to 12,000, Jute Katan Silk at Tk 4,550, Half Silk at Tk 4,000 to 15,000, and Three-Colour Gas Silk at Tk 4,550. Moni Montu produces Pakistani Swarna Katan which is being sold at Tk 16,600.
Abdul Gafur, one of the weavers, said that most of them have capital shortage. Due to the increasing price of raw materials, many of the weavers have been compelled to change their profession.
'I have three looms. I along with my son work in two looms while the other has remained abandoned. I do not engage worker due to fund crises,' said Md Raihan Ali, a marginal weaver at Dorgarchar in Shahjadpur upazila of Sirajganj district.
'I have a target to produce 100 pieces of saris in my two looms. But to start the work, I had to borrow money from a moneylender on condition of giving him 60 pieces of saris without making any profit,' Raihan added.
Around 15,000 marginal weavers of the two districts are facing similar problems. They urged the government to provide financial support to them for the survival of the traditional Pabna and Shahjadpur saris.