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Mubarakpur, the village of weavers, is known for making pure silk Banarsi sarees with zari work. The village reportedly has a population of one lakh. Ninety percent of the working population is stated to be engaged in the task of weaving sarees of pure silk and zari. Altogether, there are about 20,000 families of weavers in Mubarakpur. Thus, this village as well as certain nearby villages are known as weavers’ villages. We were told that there was practically no agricultural activity or any other service in the village for earning a living.
The section of the village visited by the RHD Team had pucca houses and was densely populated. This section also had pucca roads. The team interacted with a group of weavers and was told that the weavers of Mubarakpur were only working on handlooms although in nearby villages weavers had adopted power looms too. The villagers of Mubarakpur however, continued to use handlooms as the quality of weaving on hand looms is superior to that on power looms. It was further stated that in any case, power looms could not be used on account of woeful lack of electricity. About 4,000 sarees are produced daily in Mubarakpur.
The state of education and health facilities is bad in Mubarakpur. There is no college in Mubarakpur after Intermediate. The Health Centre set up by the government have only one or two doctors. There are no maternity facilities or even a lady doctor in the area. The Health Centre doesn’t have medicines in stock. The residents of Mubarakpur have to go to Azamgarh for treatment for any ailment. It was expressed that they would very much welcome any steps to improve the standard of education and health in the area.
The problems plaguing handloom industry is another major concern as the art of weaving Benarsi sarees is gradually becoming extinct, primarily because of decline in demand as cheaper options are available in the market. The sarees with synthetic mix and those woven on power looms were produced en masse and cost much less. On the other hand, silk yarn and zari had become increasingly expensive.
The ITRHD propose to facilitate research and development efforts for weavers, along with developing overall infrastructure for the residents.
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