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Asu machine to aid weavers of tie and dye sarees

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In what may help relieve weavers from 8-9 hours of labour everyday, an innovator has created an 'Asu' machine to ease the process of making a 'tie and dye' silk saree in Pochampally tradition. The machine, called Laxmi Asu machine by Mallesham in Andhra Pradesh, has brought in a revolution in the weaver community with the women of the community, who were hitherto engaged in the manual Asu process, encroaching the male bastion by learning to weave on looms like men.

Usually, the process of making a tie and dye' silk saree in Pochampally tradition begins with the selection of silk thread. Using the process of Asu, a triangular shape is given to the threads and designs are drawn on this shape. Tying is done where required as per the design and the threads are then dyed in selected colours. Once dried and untied, the dyed silk threads are rolled into spindles. The spindles are used appropriately in looms and the saree is woven.

The machine will help weavers save time as it just takes 90 minutes to weave a saree with the machine as compared to the four hours required in the manual process. So, while only two sarees can be made in a day manually, the Asu machine yields eight sarees per day.

The machine has already been commercialised and weavers are availing of its benefits. "We have four looms and it was very strenuous to provide the material for all the looms alone. Since we bought an Asu machine, I was relieved of hard work and also earning almost double than what I was earlier," Akubathhini Kavitha, a weaver from Warangal in Andhra Pradesh.

Also, as there is no human involvement, the machine ensures that the weaver does not have the ill effects on health like shoulder pains or strained eye sight. "The technology would be very helpful to augment the cause of uplifting employment efforts and health of women living in the margins," said L Chinzah, National Coordinator, Business Development & Micro Venture, National Innovation Foundation (NIF).

NIF was established with the help of Department of Science and Technology, with the main goal of providing institutional support in scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up grassroots green innovations and helping their transition to self supporting activities.

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