Oppn parties joint-stir in support of handloom weavers

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Hyderabad, Oct 22 (UNI) Concerned over the ''unabated'' suicide by handloom weavers saddled with unbearable debt, Opposition parties today staged a ''Chenetha Maha Dharna'' in front of the Indira Park here, demanding constitution of a Rs 500 crore fund by the Andhra Pradesh government to provide the much-needed support to the weavers.

The Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, CPI (Marxist) and Nava Telangana Praja Party demanded the state government to announce a moratorium on collection of loans advanced to handloom weavers by private money lenders.

Expressing solidarity with the weavers in trouble, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu declared that the party would waive weavers loans to the tune of Rs 330 crore, if it was voted to power in the next elections.

The TDP would also include in its election manifesto measures to market the finished goods of weavers.

The Congress government allegedly remained indifferent to the problems of weavers, Mr Naidu claimed, contending over 600 weavers had ended their lives in the last four-and-a-half years, unable to make a living with prices of essential commodities soaring as never before.

Accusing the Congress government of politicising the death of handloom weavers of Sircila and other regions, TRS president and former Union Labour Minister K Chandrasekar Rao demanded convening of an all-party meeting to evolve an action plan to rescue the handloom weavers who were forced to commit suicide.

The weavers' other demands included a special budgetary allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the handloom sector and 20 per cent subsidy on raw material for the weavers.

UNI SM VA GM ATI SB BST1855

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