The State government of Tamil Nadu has decided to release orders soon for manufacturing dhotis and saris meant for distribution through ration shops for the Pongal festival in 2023, after the representation made by the Tamil Nadu Federation of Power Looms Associations.R. Gandhi, Minister for Handlooms and Textiles, gave a statement saying that the free dhotis and saris scheme was introduced in 1983 by the State government.

These dhotis and saris were mass-produced by cooperative societies and power loom weavers’ cooperative societies in the State. A total of 2,664 handloom weavers, 11,124 pedal loom weavers and 41,983 power loom weavers were employed directly while 3.59 crore people in both rural and urban areas received benefits from the scheme.

The government has decided to begin the production in August after the orders for school uniforms were completed. The textile department is working towards procuring yarn for distribution to the societies whichwill then be distributed to the weavers. “Production activities ensure continuous job for weavers from January 2022 to August 2022”, the release said and added that government order for commencing the production will be issued soon. For the year 2022-2023, the State government had allotted ₹487.92 crore for distribution of free dhotis and saris.

Federation members were aboard with the government’s decision and added that they would commence production once the order is released and yarn is supplied to them. Earlier in the day, members observed a fast in the city urging the government to release the order at the earliest.