WITH THOUSANDS of people from Mumbai returning to their native places in Kutch district amid lockdown due to outbreak of coronavirus, leaders of garment manufacturing industry of Mumbai have floated an idea of setting a textile park in Kutch to attract investment.
Anil Gami, president of Garments Manufacturer Welfare Association, an organisation of around 750 garments manufactures in Santacruz area in Mumbai launched an online demand survey for a textile and apparel park in Kutch on April 30.
Gami said that by Monday, 1,400 businessmen have filled up their forms for the survey. “The response to the idea of setting up a textile and apparel park in Kutch has received an overwhelming response. Around 90 per cent of those who have evinced interest in the idea are businessmen of Kutch settled in Mumbai while the rest are from other districts of Kutch,” Gami told The Indian Express on Monday.
A native of Bhachau in Kutch, 38-year-old Gami runs Apex Garments Solutions Private Limited, a private firm manufacturing garments in Mumbai. “Our idea is to have business vertical which includes yarn manufacturing to ready-made garments in the park. Around 20,000 businessmen from Kutch are in the business of garments manufacturing and whole-selling in Mumbai. When their families left Kutch for Mumbai, they didn’t have money. Nor were facilities available in Kutch. But today, there are two major ports, two airport, national highways, railway lines, Narmada water in Kutch. Many businessmen own land here. Now, the businessmen settled in Mumbai have capacity to invest and they would like to invest in Kutch,” Gami added.
Dr Nagji Rita, president of Chovishi Mahajan, a social organisation of Jain community of Kutch living in Mumbai, said the idea is feasible and practical. “Lots of people of Vagad area of Kutch are into businesses of garments manufacturing and imitation jewellery in Mumbai. Land prices in Mumbai are exorbitant. But in Kutch, it can be low… So, many would be attracted to shift their manufacturing units to Kutch,” Rita said, adding the textile park can employ around 250,000 people and that businessmen would be observing what Gujarat government offers to such a project.
Rapar and Bhachau talukas in eastern part of Kutch are known as Vagad area. Rita said while sales depots and showrooms can continue to be in Mumbai, manufacturing can shift to Kutch to cut down costs. “Kutch, with two major sea ports can be an ideal location for even textile and garments units aiming overseas markets,” Gami added.
Ashwin Mehta, a native of Kutch and a garment manufacturer in Mumbai, said a textile park can make the garments manufacturing industry more organised. “The garments manufacturing industry in Mumbai is not very organised. The main reason is paucity of land. It is not possible to give staff quarters on factory premises. But if manufacturing is shifted to Kutch, it can be done…,” Mehta, director of Studio LEX Fashion Private Limited, a garments manufacturing firm in Mumbai, said.
Kutch MP Vinod Chavda and local BJP leaders held a meeting at the residence of Keshubhai Patel, president of Kutch unit of the BJP, on Sunday to discuss the issue. “A few days ago, media in Mumbai had reported that Kutchi businessmen want to set up industries in their native district. Therefore, the agenda of the meeting was to discuss the idea and if the idea moves forward, how government can respond to it,” said Chavda.
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