Production slumps in the powerloom hub of Bhiwandi

Hit onerous by volatility in yarn costs, 50% of the looms stated to be working solely 3-4 days every week.

Part I: Bumps galore, but auto hubs breathe easy on sales spike

In the powerloom hub of Bhiwandi, close to Mumbai, Covid-19 circumstances have been declining since final September, and there was no coronavirus-related dying since the starting of this 12 months.

People have stopped sporting masks, and the city’s bustling markets and streets, you’d assume life was again to regular.

Not so. Though the worry and ferocity of the pandemic has receded, Bhiwandi’s core powerloom trade is in deep disaster.


The volatility in yarn costs has posed a extreme problem to powerloom homeowners who resumed full-fledged operations solely in August final 12 months.

While Torrent Power, which distributes energy to the city, maintains that there was no dip in consumption since October, powerloom homeowners say they’ve slowed manufacturing down.

Purushottam Okay Vanga, former chairman of the Powerloom Development and Export Promotion Council, estimates that as a consequence of restricted operations, there was a 25 per cent fall in Bhiwandi’s every day fabric manufacturing — down from round 20 million metres to fifteen million metres.

Abdul Rashid Tahir Momin, president, Bhiwandi Powerloom Weavers Federation, claims that since mid-December, about 50 per cent of the powerlooms have been working simply three to 4 days every week.

“Input costs have increased and merchants are not willing to pay a higher price for cloth,” he says.

Bhiwandi accounts for 20-25 per cent of the nation’s 2.5 million powerlooms.

And 70 per cent of the operators right here have 12 to 24 looms every and work for bigger models that procure yarn from merchants.

At the looms, the yarn is woven into gray fabric, whereas the processing, dyeing, designing and printing occurs later in the mills.

“Though it is not unusual for yarn prices to rise by 10-15 per cent, in the last two months, they’ve gone up 50-100 per cent,” says Momin, blaming the value surge on speculative commerce.

“Prices had been fluctuating each two-three days and that made enterprise troublesome.

“Last week, costs of each cotton and artificial yarn fell by round 10 per cent after which step by step elevated by the finish of the week.” Momin needs the Maharashtra authorities’s assist to regulate yarn costs.

According to knowledge from the Southern India Mills’ Association, costs of each cotton hosiery and weaving yarn have risen in the previous few months.

The common value per kg of hosiery yarn has elevated from Rs 179-225 in August 2020 to Rs 218- 264 in January 2021.

And that of weaving yarn has shot up from Rs 170-271 per kg in August to Rs 243-350 per kg in January.

Bhiwandi’s powerlooms shut down when the lockdown was introduced in March 2020.

Though the authorities allowed the models outdoors the containment zones to open from May 22 onwards, it wasn’t till August final 12 months that the looms began working once more, when the migrant employees started to return.

Around 80 per cent of Bhiwandi’s powerloom employees are migrants from Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.

“Earlier, I used to have work for 25 days in a month, however now it has decreased.

“Still, there is no such thing as a possibility however to remain right here as a result of there is no such thing as a supply of livelihood in our native place in Bihar,” says Hafiz-ul-Ansari, who works at a powerloom.

Loom homeowners are feeling the pinch, too.

“For the past two months I have been operating a single shift of 12 hours instead of double shifts,” says Hanif Nathani, a powerloom proprietor.

“Operating looms with the current yarn prices is not sustainable. And there has been no relief from the government.”

In December, Vanga wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, requesting that the curiosity on loans and electrical energy payments incurred throughout the lockdown interval be waived.

Other calls for embody the organising of a yarn market and a housing colony for Bhiwandi’s powerloom employees.

Vanga says Thackeray hasn’t responded but.

“The textile ministry is supporting the powerloom sector for upgradation and productivity improvements,” says an official at the central authorities textile commissionerate.

“The government has extended the PowerTex scheme till March 2021 to allow powerloom owners to avail of the subsidy and other benefits for upgradation,” provides the official who doesn’t want to be named.

“We haven’t obtained any illustration that fifty per cent of powerlooms in Bhiwandi have been functioning solely three-four days every week.

“There is stress in the sector, however we anticipate yarn costs to stabilise,” he provides.

Mill homeowners agree that costs will soften in the coming weeks.

A surge in demand for garment exports, manufacturing challenges in the spinning mills and the rise in cotton costs are contributing to the spike in yarn costs, they are saying.

The US ban on the import of cotton from Xinjiang in China is alleged to have fuelled the rise in worldwide costs.

“We have sufficient stock of cotton. Spinning mills, too, have sufficient spare capacity,” says Okay Selvaraju, secretary normal, Southern India Mills’ Association

“There is no price cartelisation. People should avoid panic buying. I expect yarn prices to stabilise by February-end or beginning March.”

Photograph: Roli Srivstava/Reuters

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