Manufacturers say they are getting lignite of poor quality at higher rates from government
Hit by the meltdown,over 100 roof tile manufacturing units in Morbi are now facing a shortage of quality fuel,which is supplied by the state government for running operations.
Following a call given by the Morbi Roof Tiles Association,all the units have now decided to down their shutters from March 1,if their demand for better quality lignite is not accepted by the state government. The strike will severely affect production.
The roof tiles industry in Morbi employs over 10,000 workers in manufacturing process,and accounts for 70 per cent of the countrys total production.
Most of the workers involved in the industry here are locals.
J J Patel,the president of the Roof Tiles Manufactures Association,said: The lignite provided to us from the new mines in Bhavnagar has over 40 per cent moisture,making it difficult for the kilns to reach the required temperature of 1,100 degree centigrade.
He added: We are paying higher rates for inferior quality fuel,which doubles up our production cost. The industry cannot afford to function at these production rates during a slowdown when the demand has already gone down.
The manufacturers say they are concerned about the workers,but cannot run operations further under the prevailing economic conditions.
Each of the 105 units in the area require 60 trucks of the fuel each weighing 10 to 17 tonnes,per day. Around 10,000 tiles are produced by each unit in Morbi every day.
Veljibhai Patel,an owner of a tile manufacturing unit said: The orders for lignite have been placed till this month-end. So we have decided to continue till then.
Till last year,roof tiles units,like many other industries,were supplied with high quality lignite from the Pandhro site,which is owned by the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation.
Now,Pandhro has been kept reserved for power generation,and lignite is supplied to industries from other sites like Mata No Madh in Kutch,and Rajpardi near Surat. Bhavnagar,from where Morbi is supplied lignite,is a relatively new site.
Patel said: The lignite supplied from Mata No Madh has more dust component,while that from Bhavnagar has more moisture. Both are of inferior quality,but still we are ready to settle for the material from Mata No Madh.
In addition to the quality concern,the manufacturers are also concerned about the costly lignite they receive from Bhavnagar.
The lignite received from Bhavnagar costs Rs 2,600 per truck,while that supplied from Mato No Madh and Pandhro costs Rs 2400 to 2500 per truck.