Sircilla: Amid the high-pitch campaigning in Sircilla - a constituency represented by KT Rama Rao, son of Telangana caretaker chief minister K Chadrashekar Rao, weavers are more concerned about the fate of a government scheme that helped them overcome the scourge of suicides and improve their earnings.
There is a fear among some sections that the scheme could be scrapped if the ruling TRS party fails to retain power in the crucial December 7 assembly polls.
The Telanagna Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government's 'free saree distribution scheme' has boosted production since last one year, giving a fillip to the powerloom industry in this constituency.
"There used to be approximately 90-100 weavers suicides in a year till 2013. The awareness camps, counselling efforts and the government's schemes has brought a change," said K Punnam Chandra, a consulting psychologist with Mindcare and Counselling Centre's consulting pyschologist.
Powerloom weavers fell into a debt trap as they gradually increased the looms from initial two to 16, hoping to earn more. Although the production increased, they could not find any market, resulting into high debt and stress, he said.
Adding to their woes was low quality polyster they produced that fetched them only Rs. 5-6 per metre in the market. Weavers could not make payment to labours, Mr Chandra said. The stress of debt and lack of sleep due to working in double shifts led many of them to become alcoholic, he added.
However, the scheme to distribute free sarees to the poor women, pension and upgradation fund have helped improve the condition of weavers in Sircilla, Mr Chandra said.