Accepting the government’s submission that the yarn for the production of sarees and dhotis to poor people during Pongal every year since 1983 was supplied after being tested at reputed centres like Textiles Committee and South India Textile Research Association (SITRA), the Madras High Court disposed of a plea moved by Muthur Power-loom Weavers’ Cooperative Society alleging supply of sub-standard raw material causing inconvenience to weavers and ultimately affecting the quality of finished products.
The petitioners had sought for a monitoring committee consisting of high-level officials of the Handloom Department along with qualified experts in the field of textile technology. When the plea came up for hearing, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana said: “There is some force in the contention of the Director of Handlooms and Textiles that when the yarn supplied has fulfilled the quality standards as per the specifications, there is no necessity to call for the sales documents of the manufacturing and dying units of the tenderers.
“It is no doubt true that the required procedures and guidelines are in place to have control over the quality of the yarn supplied by the private players and the cooperative spinning mills. It is for the Department of Handlooms and Textiles to implement those procedures and guidelines effectively and scrupulously in letter and spirit,” the judge said. She also noted that the department should not give any room for doubt about the quality of the raw materials supplied by the tenderers and they have to ensure the quality of yarn supplied to the weavers for one of the pioneer schemes, which has given continuous employment to around 67,000 handloom and power loom weavers in the State, is as per the standards prescribed.
Advocate General Vijay Narayan submitted that Muthur Society was blacklisted two years ago for supply of recycled dhotis and added that due to malpractice of some of the societies like that of the petitioner, the weavers and government were blamed for supply of substandard sarees and dhoties.
To this, Justice Pushpa Sathyanrayana said though there was no bar on officials to take action against erring cooperative societies, innocent weavers should not be punished for no fault of theirs. “At the same time, weavers and cooperative societies also should remember that they should not indulge in abuse or use the raw materials given to them for some other purpose and use substandard yarn to achieve temporary gain, which would tantamount to burning their own fingers,” the judge said.