Varanasi: The Central government has decided to pay the pending Rs4 crore electricity bill arrears of weavers of Varanasi, apart from setting up an international trade centre in the city, informed Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for commerce.
Ramesh made the announcements during a weavers’ convention -- Poorvanchal Bunkar Mahapanchayat -- held in Varanasi on 11 December. He said he would hold a meeting with the finance ministry in this regard.
“Cluster schemes for weavers have been expanded to more areas of Varanasi. Earlier, Ramnagar, Lohta and Kotwan were under this scheme but now Saraiya, Pilikothi and Bazardiha have also been added,” he said.
Health insurance cards would be issued to weavers next year, under which their families -- husband, wife and two children -- would get free medical treatment of Rs15,000 per year, the Minister said.
Weavers would also get life insurance cards by paying only Rs80 per annum under the Mahatama Gandhi Weavers Plan and the dependents of those weavers who died due to natural causes would get Rs60,000 while in case of accidental deaths, it would be Rs1 lakh, he said.
An international trade centre would be set up in Varanasi to help weavers exhibit their wares under one roof, Ramesh said, voicing concern over complaints against cooperative societies working with the weavers.