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Textile mill owners doubtful about revival: SISPA

Jun 05, 2020
Textile mill owners doubtful about revival: SISPA

Flagging concerns, including shortage of work force due to return of migrants and financial woes, an apex textile industry body claimed a majority of mill owners were anxious and doubtful about revival of the key sector post COVID-19 lockdown. The South India Spinners Association (SISPA) also said the Centre's move to extend loans to the industries through banks would only add to their burdens and took exception to the Tamil Nadu electricity department levying fine for under utilisation of energy during lockdown.

In a statement titled "Darker side of COVID-19 impact on textile mills", SISPA President N Murugesan said the main request of all industries was waiver of interest for six months along with interest subvention for one year to facilitate their revival but this had not been accepted. "The measures taken to grant loans by banks to industries are another burden to the heavily depleted industries as the monthly repayments become higher than the already existing payments at a time when the markets for large scale demand and supply are not in favour of the same," he said.

All the textile mill owners had exhausted their long-time savings and were looking up to the government to help them reach the light at the end of the tunnel, Murugesan said. He said the textile mills that operated round-the-clock throughout the year were now undergoing a never seen before lockdown which was first imposed for 21 days and further extended to another 45 days.

Maintaining that the textile mills took care of their migrant work force by providing free food and housing during the entire lockdown period in line with the government's request, Murugesan said with the recent relaxations the labourers had started to return to their home states. As the majority of their workforce was migrants, the mills now have no alternative resources and have no idea when they can reopen their production activities and the future "looks unrealistic" until the workers return, he added.

The SISPA chief said the mills in Tamil Nadu had been slapped with bills for April with a 90 per cent payment of MD charges and a hefty fine for not maintaining the power factor. Terming it a "ludicrous fine" imposed on the already financially burdened textile mills for non-utilisation of power, he said this was completely 'unreasonable'.

The textile mills did not shut down to cater to their own interests but followed the governments orders to prevent the spread of the pandemic. "When the textile mills owners were expecting to pay only for the utilised power, the bills from EB Department hit hard on the mill owners and their livelihoods," he said.