The age-old khadi sector is all set for a makeover. The spinning wheel will now run on solar power in its new avatar of solar charka. Solar charkas will lower strain on weavers and increase productivity. The newly-developed wheels have more spindles that can run on solar power. The objective is to increase wages of spinners since most khadi workers are women.
A spinner earns Rs 160 a day for eight hours of work on a hand-spun wheel while solar-powered charkas can spin material worth Rs 350 to Rs 380. Conventional wheels hold 3 to 8 spindles of khadi, which produce 25 hanks of yarn in eight hours. Solar-powered spinning wheels can hold 36 spindles to produce 100 hanks in the same time.
The original cost of a solar charka was Rs 70,000, which has been brought down to Rs 40,000. Developers are working at further towards reducing the cost. In remote and rural areas, where uninterrupted electricity is a distant dream, solar charkas will help boost the income of weavers. The quality of the yarn can also improve by the use of solar charka. It can help traditional spinning grow into an industry without involving human drudgery.