Ahmedabad,the city to have Indias first textile mill in the nineteenth century followed by a number of textile and garment mills that once employed millions,has all but died as a textile hub.
Over 90 per cent of these mills in Indias erstwhile Manchester have shut down over the years,rendering a huge number of spinners and other workers jobless.
In many cases,former employees of these mills have still been fighting for their salary arrears amounting in crores for decades.
On the other hand,the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is yet to recover property tax and other dues from these mills,which has accumulated to around 81 crore.
Over 870 acres of land,where these mills once stood,is lying idle. Of the total 79 mills in the city,only six are running at present.
While the AMC has tried to cut its losses by carrying out commercial and residential development (meant for economically weaker sections under JNNURM) on some of the idle land,civic officials say they are stuck since related cases are pending in courts.
AMC has made attempts to develop slum rehabilitation projects on 20 per cent of the total mill land, says Municipal Commissioner Gurudas Mohapatra.
Arjav Shah,Deputy Municipal Commissioner (property tax),said,Since cases are in courts,AMC cannot take any action to recover its dues.
In the areas like Bapunagar,Rakhial,Shaherkotda,Sarangpur and Sahibuag,where these mills once stood,all that is left are dilapidated buildings,some of which still have their now-rusted spinning machines in place.
Abhinav Shukla,general secretary of the Ahmadabad Textile Mills Association (ATMA),said lack of technological upgrade and increased competition dealt a death blow to these mills.
Some of the bigger textile mills that closed down include Monogram Mills and Amruta Mill in Bapunagar,Anant Mill in Rakhial,Ambika Mills in Shaherkotda and Vijay Mills in Asarva.
Some of the closed mills have been used for a variety of purposes. For instance,K Ka Shastri Commerce College has come up at Bihari Mill in Khokramahedabad. A garbage dumping site has come up at Bansidhar Mills at Arasva and a portion of land of at Ahmedabad Advance Mill at Shahibuag has been allotted to Swaminarayan Mandir Trust.