In the month of May, DEF adopted two more handloom clusters in Kollegal (Karnataka) and Pochampally (Telangana) with support from Microsoft under its Digital Cluster Development Programme (DCDP). Kollegal is located in Chamrajnagar district of Karnataka; and is situated on the foothills of the Western Ghat, providing temperature that is suitable for growing silk cocoons. The cluster thus specialises in sericulture and handwoven silk sarees, so much so that it is often known as the Silk City. It is believed that weaving was introduced in the cluster by Christian travellers. Pochampally, meanwhile, comprises 80 villages.
Spread over an attractive and charming part of the Deccan Plateau, Pochampally is the largest handloom tie-and-dye cluster with about 1,000 pitlooms and 5,000 artisans who are known for their traditional and geometric patterns in ikat.
DCDP is a handloom clusters’ development initiative that primarily involves inclusive and decentralised use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and other digital tools in critical aspects of cluster development, especially improving and scaling up weaving skills, designs, marketing and entrepreneurship, besides creating sustainable livelihood options for the youth in the clusters. The development focus of the model allows us to integrate both the social and economic capital needs of the targeted artisan communities towards inclusive growth.