Bengaluru silk reelers alien to new technology

Art & Culture Bengaluru City Governance National Tech

Not aware of Silk Samagra Scheme, they say

The Silk Samagra Scheme implemented by the Central Silk Board (CSB), which focuses on improving the quality and productivity of domestic silk hasn’t benefited the silk reelers of Bengaluru.

Subhash Nayak, director of post-cocoon production at the Central Silk Board on the occasion of National Technology Day, said, “Science can bring significant change in society. Ten years back, a huge amount of silk was wasted during the processing. Today, for every 1 kg of silk, we save 1 kg of cocoon. This means a total saving of Rs. 2,500 crore per year. This is only possible through technology.”

He further said that the silk industry in India has a  turnover of around Rs. 1 lakh crore each year. “It’s a sizable industry,” he said and “the country has sufficient labor force for doing the same.”

“Sericulture industry has huge scope for growth of small and medium businesses.  Twenty to twenty-five percent of technologies developed by us are turned into schemes that encourage people to join the industry,”  he added.

Ravi Kumar D, a scientist at the Central Silk Board, said: “We are giving training under the Silk Samagra Scheme. Government is giving subsidies for the automatic silk reeling machines. Through the Silk Samagra Scheme, we are working towards the growth of the silk industry.”

The scheme, however, has not benefited the silk reelers of Bengaluru.

Noorbegh, who works at MB Silk Industry, Ramanagara, said: “We don’t know anything about the scheme and are not even given any training. We do have automatic reeling machines but we don’t know how to use them. They usually stop working midway and the entire thread gets destroyed. As a result, we have suffered huge losses.”

MB Silk Industry has a total workforce of 300 silk reelers.

Babu Nimbhayakr, a technician at  the Central Silk Board, said that the institute does provide training to the silk reelers. “But they do their own work and deny our techniques,” he said.

Nimbhayakr said that the thickness of the yarn needs to be regulated through the machine to maintain its quality.

Local silk reelers find automatic silk reeling machines are too expensive.

Manjunath, another silk reeler, said: “One machine costs somewhere between Rs. 70,000 to 1 lakh. I don’t have enough savings to invest in them. Even if I do, what is the guarantee that they will work for a long term? What if there are some glitches and it stops working?”

Abhilashi Singh, a scientist at CSIR, revealed: “We have so many machines here and our produce is good. We have even developed technology to remove impurities from cocoons without the use of chemical. But I am well aware that not all reelers know about this technology. They haven’t directly benefited from it.”

Nayak said that India is the second largest silk producing country in the world after China. “China’s silk industry is coming down, which creates a huge scope for the Indian silk industry,” he added.

India however continues to import silk yarn from China. According to a report in The Hindu, presently, 2,200 to 2,500 tonnes of silk worth  Rs. 750 crore to 800 crore is imported from China every year. The Silk Association of India (SAI), Bengaluru, seeks a complete ban on silk coming from China.


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