Done in cotton,Sarakpatna sarees are very much in demand not only among teachers, ASHA and anganwadi workers but also European tourists

By Biranchi Narayan Seth |Express News Service

04th May 2021

A non-descript village of weavers in Dhenkanal district is slowly creating a space for itself in the handloom map of Odisha. Sarakpatna is home to 250 weavers who are known for their cotton handloom sarees.

However, it was revived after the formation of a weavers’ cooperative society and intervention of the Handlooms and Textiles department. Currently, a majority of the weavers work on handlooms and a few on power looms. While men of the village do the weaving, women of the families do the cotton spinning, tie-and-dye and embroidery work. While they sell their sarees to Boyanika and markets in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, their cotton sarees are also a hit among tourists from European countries who visit Dhenkanal. Rama Sahoo, a woman weaver, said the sarees are mostly done in cotton with Ikat patterns.

“We also do embroidery on them but the demand for plain cotton Ikat sarees is more”, she said. The weavers take 15 days to one month for making 15 to 20 sarees and their selling price for each saree is around Rs 800-Rs 3,000. “We have dealers in Puri, Cuttack, Maniabandha, West Bengal and Delhi who showcase our sarees at exhibitions,” said Srikant Kumar Sahoo, a young weaver and entrepreneur.

Ranjit Rout, another weaver, makes around 15 sarees in a month and sells each of them at Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000, depending on the material and designs. An SHG - Maa Santoshi Bunakar - has opened a unit in the village that sells Sarakpatna sarees to dealers outside the district and State. Artisans also participate in different exhibitions and sell independently. Also, the Sarakpatna Co-operative Society has been catering to the saree needs of ASHA and Anganwadi workers as well as demands from general customers.

Secretary of the society Sudam Charan Rout said although the government has not conducted any skills training for over two years, the weavers have themselves created several new designs which are selling well. Assistant Director, Textiles, Charan Rout said although the government does not extend financial assistance to the weavers directly it imparts skill upgradation training and resource development to keep the artisans updated about market requirements.