Schoolgirl casts Net to rescue weavers

Moved by the plight of weavers, hundreds of whom have committed suicide across the State, an Indian-American student, Eppanapally Pooja Jyoti, has launched an Internet-based signature campaign to promote their cause and the rich heritage they stand for. Jyoti, a 10th grader at Livingston High School in New Jersey whose parents hail from Choppadandi in the district, set up the website — — four months ago with the aim of collecting one lakh signatures and submitting them to the Central Government to take steps to implement a comprehensive, longterm, comprehensive solution that would help generate demand for their output. The initiative assumes significance in the backdrop of the accumulation of huge stocks of cloth produced by the weavers in Siricilla and other parts of the State. Speaking to Express over phone from the US, Jyoti said the weavers represented India’s glorious cultural heritage and it was the Centre’s duty to protect their lives and keep intact their magnificent skills.

‘The Government should mandate all government establishments like hospitals, railways, public schools, prisons, military and the tourism sector to use cloth manufactured by weavers,” Pooja Jyoti said. Once she collects one lakh signatures, hopefully by the end of this month, she would submit the petition to President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “I have collected 40,000 signatures from all around the world in the last four months,’’ she said.

Jyoti has been encouraged by the response — including from Indian immigrants in the US, UK and Australia — who have pledged their support to the cause by signing the petition online.

Noted Prasad Kunisetty, an NRI who lives in the United States, “This is similar to what Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav did to support potters: replacing plastic cups with earthenware ones to serve tea to rail commuters.’’ Another Telugu- speaking non-resident Indian, Kalvapudi Radha of Australia, lauded Jyoti’s efforts. “It is highly commendable and the Central Government should now act concertedly to address the problems of weavers,’’ she said. And Jyoti’s father, Harikishan Eppanapally, a software professional who helped her launch the website, told Express he was very happy with the response to the initiative.

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