The one-million handloom weavers of Bangladesh are a continuing casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war out of which the new nation was born last December.
GV Demra village across river
LV & SV Unemployed weavers on riverbank (2 shots)
SV Passing weavers' hut on stilts
SV & CU INT Hand-loom weaver at work (5 shots)
SV & CU Idle hand-loom (2 shots)
SV Man preparing loom
SV Child spooling yarn on wheels
SV & CU Weaver making lunghi material (2 shots)
CU Material being cut into lengths
CU Hanging yarn
LV & CU in Dacca material drying in sun and stacked on cart (2 shots)
Initials ES. 1430 RW/MR/BB/BB
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Background: The one-million handloom weavers of Bangladesh are a continuing casualty of the Indo-Pakistan war out of which the new nation was born last December. In normal times, 300-thousand handlooms annually provide about 800-million square yards of cloth, or 95 per cent of the total output of Bangladesh. But war damage and a breakdown in the supply of cotton have reduced the amount of handlooms working to 100-thousand; and even they are not working at anything like normal capacity. In a country where unemployment is high, the weavers - a poor and often landless class - have no other means of support, and there is concern over their plight. Various countries have responded to a United Nations appeal to supply raw cotton and yarn to Bangladesh as an essential part of UN relief operations. But not enough of it has yet come through to the weavers.
SYNOPSIS: This is Demra, a weavers' village in Bangladesh.
The plight of its people is shared by most of the weavers of Bangladesh, who are continuing casualties of last December's war, in which the new nation was born.
It's estimated there are one-million handloom weavers in Bangladesh, and, with their families, they make up about ten per cent of the population. The weavers are a poor and often landless class, with no other means of support. And it is hard to find other work in Bangladesh, where the general unemployment rate is high. In normal times, some three-hundred-thousand handlooms annually supply about eight-hundred-million square yards of cloth, or about ninety-five per cent of the total output of Bangladesh.
But war damage and a breakdown in the supply of cotton has reduced the number of handlooms working to around one-hundred-thousand--and even these are not operating at anything like normal capacity.
One side effect is that locally made cloth is in shorter supply than usual and this has forced up the price of garments, such as lunghis.
Various countries have responded to an appeal by the United Nations to supply raw cotton and cotton yarn to Bangladesh, under the UN relief operation. But not enough of this is getting through to the weavers. Reasons for this are said to include the activities of corrupt middlemen and a flourishing black market.
The weavers' plight is such that the United Nations is making a study to assemble reliable information, assess the industry's minimal needs, to recommend action and to develop assistance projects.