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Covid shrunk textile production in Surat, workforce down by 25%: weavers’ body

Lockdown and curfew timings in other states too have affected the textile business in Surat, said Pramod Chaudhary, former president of Southern Gujarat Textile processing Association.

Written by Kamal Saiyed , Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad/surat |
April 20, 2021 9:27:43 am
There are 65,000 textile trading shops in 175 textile trading markets in the city where lakhs of workers are engaged in folding, packing, selling textile fabrics and other activities related to the business. (Representational)

Migration of the at least 25 per cent of its workforce and coronavirus-induced curfew timings has adversely affected production in the textile units of Surat, the Federation Gujarat Weavers Association (FOGWA) has said.

“In the last one-and-a-half months, the fabric production has been reduced by one crore metre per day. Usually, we produced 4.5 crore metre daily,” Ashok Jirawala, the president of FOGWA told The Indian Express on Monday. The dip in fabric production has been to the tune of 22 per cent as compared to March 2021.

“The number of workers has gone down by 25-30 per cent as a lot of labourers have migrated from Surat due to the fear of lockdown. Workers are still leaving. In the coming days, more workers are expected to leave. If the current Covid-19 situation continues then we will clock huge losses,” Jirawala added.

Lockdown and curfew timings in other states too have affected the textile business in Surat, said Pramod Chaudhary, former president of Southern Gujarat Textile processing Association. “Due to the Covid-19 situation, several marriages, which were fixed in the summer in UP and Bihar and other north Indian states, have been cancelled and this has also affected our business. Our markets in many areas in UP are under lockdown and the situation is similar in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.”

Surat Mercantile Association president Narendra Saboo, too, has a similar story to narrate. “Starting from October 2020 till March first week, daily there were around 350-400 trucks carrying textile parcels from Surat city to other parts of the country. Each truck carried around 150 to 170 parcels worth Rs 50 lakh. After March 15, slowly the business has gone down, and currently only 70 trucks are leaving Surat city with parcels. The reason is Covid-19,” Saboo said.

There are 65,000 textile trading shops in 175 textile trading markets in the city where lakhs of workers are engaged in folding, packing, selling textile fabrics and other activities related to the business.

Between November 2020 and March 2021, textile business had regained the momentum lost during the April 2020 lockdown. However, during the second wave of Covid-19, a large number of textile traders and employees have tested positive for Covid-19.

Surat Municipal Commissioner B N Pani had visited the textile markets thrice after March 15 and advised traders to follow the Covid-19 guidelines and appealed to keep their textile trading shops shut on Saturdays and Sundays.

Apart from the daily Covid-19 curfew from 8 pm, the textile players in Surat had voluntarily kept the textile markets closed on weekends.

However, on Monday, all the stakeholders in the textile business came together at Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) and decided to not shut-shop on weekends any more. The textile body also wrote to the CM and suggested a complete lockdown should be imposed in Surat city.

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