The global pandemic coupled with the devastating floods has adversely impacted Assam's handloom industry. Handloom has had an overwhelming presence in the socio-economic life of Assam since time immemorial. Sualkuchi is the hotbed of the handloom industry and is also called the 'Manchester of East'.
However, the year 2020 has been a failure for the handloom industry like every other industry and thousands of weavers have lost their only source of income since March after the series of complete and partial lockdowns had been enforced.
Handloom has had an overwhelming presence in the socio-economic life of Assam since time immemorialSome of the weavers or manufacturers have been trying to convert the unsold pieces of handloom items to face masks to generate some income but this income has been extremely miniscule. There have been a few exceptions though. Dhruba Jyoti Deka, the founder of Brahmaputra Fables has been working on the conversion of masks even before the first wave of COVID-19 started in Assam and has been successful. In his words, "There has been no sale in the handloom industry due to the lockdowns However; we have been making masks out of handloom materials by following proper guidelines issued by the ministry of family and health welfare. Our weavers have remained financially afloat by selling masks during the pandemic. We believe in community entrepreneurship, thus we are collectively working with Northeast Network - an NGO, AVA Foundations, and Elephant Country of Balipara Foundation for shipping masks."
Other designers and manufacturers are also trying innovative ideas to generate sales. The outcomes however have not been encouraging. The government on its part has compensated some weavers and manufacturers.