To make matters worse, a sizeable number of labourers from Odisha are employed in the Surat textile industry, said Ashish Gujarati, president of Pandesara Weavers' Association.
By Nayan Dave
After leaving a trail of destruction and damage in the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, cyclone Fani has wreaked havoc in faraway Surat in Gujarat, where the textile industry is reeling from post-cyclone losses of over Rs 500 crore, before leaving for Bangladesh.
“The cyclone has disrupted the supply of cloth and garments from Surat over the past four days, and it would take another fortnight to restore the situation,” says Dev Kishan Mangani, chairman of South Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (SGCCI’s) textile committee.
“Ahead of Ramadan festivities, textile units in Surat are flooded with orders from Odisha, West Bengal and Bangladesh. Over the past several days Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore worth goods were being transported from Surat to these eastern states on a daily basis. But, buyers have stopped taking goods in the aftermath of the cyclone. Most of the warehouses have been damaged in Odisha and Bangladesh, and are facing storage problems. Roads in the cyclone-hit areas of all three places have been badly damaged,” said Mangani.
“By the time situation would normalise, Ramadan festivities would be over and goods manufactured specifically for the festival would not be sold elsewhere,” he said. “Cloths used to make garments such as burqas would remain unsold as the material used is seldom used for any other purpose,” he lamented. According to estimates, Surat-based textile units would suffer losses of nearly Rs 500 to Rs 600 crore.
To make matters worse, a sizeable number of labourers from Odisha are employed in the Surat textile industry, said Ashish Gujarati, president of Pandesara Weavers’ Association. “These workers were already on extended holiday since Holy due to Lok Sabha polls. They were supposed to return to work by mid-May. Now, most of them would not able to come back soon on account of the losses they have suffered. It means most of the workers from Odisha and parts of West Bengal would be able to return earliest by June only,” he said.