Varanasi, Jun 5: The small traders here are badly hit due to scarcity of silk thread following the recent earthquake in China. Consequently, the small traders involved in the handloom industry feel that they are forced to buy silk thread at exorbitant prices and are finding it extremely hard to earn their livelihood.
"Silk thread has become very costly. The weavers are finding it extremely hard to make both ends meet. But still, they are struggling in an effort to earn their livelihood. A lot of them have left Varanasi and gone," said Aman Mohammed Ali, trader.
On the other hand, the retailers feel that the earthquake in China is just an excuse. The wholesalers have started indulging in hoarding silk thread and have increased its price by 15-25 per cent.
"The earthquake in China has not affected the industry. There is plenty of silk thread, which has been kept in store. Its price has been increased in the market because of which the weavers are hit," said Momin Ahmed Ansari, a trader.
Ninety percent of the silk thread is imported to India from China. Small traders believe that the earthquake has not affected the silk crop to an extent it is being projected.
"The supply was slightly affected for a few days due to the earthquake that took place in China sometime back. The price of silk thread increased because of that and the traders were hit because of that," said Arun Agarwal, trader and exporter.
The small traders are left at the mercy of wholesalers to support their families. A lot of them have been forced to leave Varanasi and moved to other places in search of occupation.
India stands second only to China in silk production. While China produces 70,000 metric tons of raw silk, India is producing far behind at 14,200 metric tons.
Officials say India requires 120,000 metric tons of silk to meet its share of demand in world market.