Union Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, has called for further enhancement of Ponduru. During her two-day visit to Visakhapatnam, and Srikakulam, she participated in a handloom day event held in Ponduru, Srikakulam District on Saturday. Being in Ponduru, which is famous for its khadi industry, the Finance Minister expressed her happiness visiting the place and interacting with the weavers and artisans.
As part of the program, Nirmala Sitharaman observed the khadi weaving process at the Andhra Fine Khadi Labour Development Association premises. With the old building left in a dilapidated condition, the Finance Minister laid the foundation stone for the new building. The Finance Minister later distributed cheques to several beneficiaries.
Speaking to the weavers from Ponduru, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Khadi productivity has increased from Rs 9,000 crore in 2014 to Rs 18,000 crore by 2021. Noting that there are proper profits given for the workers, mega handloom clusters have been set up.” Having set up a cluster at Mangalagiri, in Guntur District, the Minister assured to set up a handloom cluster in Ponduru as well. With a large number of handloom workers present in and around Ponduru, Nirmala Sitharaman advised the officials of NABARD, and existing lead banks, to sanction loans to the maximum number of artisans.
Srikakulam District Collector, Shrikesh B Lathkar IAS, has been advised to include Ponduru Khadi in GeM ( Government e-Market), which is a platform for buying and selling through government electronic marketing.
Additionally, the District Collector informed the Finance Minister that proposals are being made for the establishment of a handloom production cluster in Ponduru. Earlier, the Finance Minister also met with the team of the Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh (CCAP) before leaving for Ponduru.