The Federation of Surat Textile Traders Association (FOSTTA) on Wednesday wrote to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani requesting him to give relaxations to the labourers who want to return to the state but are feared of 14-day quarantine period. The traders’ body has requested that labourers should be allowed to work if they are found healthy after the medically examination.
Even as wholesale textile shops in various markets of Surat have opened after more than two months of Covid-19 lockdown, the owners said they are facing labour shortage and took up the issue with FOSTTA members.
There are 185 textile trading markets in Surat which have over 65,000 textile trading shops where over one lakh labourers are employed. Majority of the wholesale saree and dress material shops in the textile markets are being run by the businessmen from Rajasthan while the labourers are from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
In a letter sent by FOSTTA to state government and addressed to the chief minister, the traders’ body said, “Since the last two days the textile trading shops are opening but due to the shortage of the labourers, who have returned to their home states, the owners are facing difficulties. The labourers want to return to Surat but they are feared of 14-day quarantine period. We request that medical examination of the labourers should be done and those found healthy, should be allowed to work in the shops. With this the traders will also have not to face difficulties and the business will be back on track in a few days.”
The letter further stated that if the textile trading industry does not gain its routine momentum then the powerloom factories and dyeing and printing mills in Surat also cannot function properly.
FOSTTA general secretary Champalal Bothra said, “I also run a textile trading shop in the market, and we face a lot of problems due to the labour shortage. The labourers are involved in stocking the sarees and dress materials in the godown and in loading the parcels which is sent to other states. They also show sarees and dress materials to the customers.”
“The shopkeepers are following all the Covid-19 protocols, like maintaining social distancing. The security guards of textile markets don’t allow any anybody to enter into the market without wearing a mask,” he added.
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