High cotton, input prices force Gujarat textile processors to cut operations by 40%

Many of the nearly 3,000 processing units in Surat, Ahmedabad and Jetpur have told their employees to work just thrice a week.

The small textile dyeing and printing cluster at Jetpur in Rajkot district is also facing similar challenges.

By Nayan Dave

Cascading effects of inflated prices of cotton and other inputs have forced textile processing units in Gujarat to cut dyeing and printing activities by nearly 40%.

Many of the nearly 3,000 processing units in Surat, Ahmedabad and Jetpur have told their employees to work just thrice a week.

“Apart from unprecedented high cotton prices, retail demand for fabric and garments is sluggish. Moreover, due to heatwave, footfalls in textile markets have reduced by more than 50%. Outstation traders are also avoiding visits. The situation is likely to improve after the monsoon,” said Jitendra Vakharia, president of the South Gujarat Textile Processors Association.

Surat-based weavers, who normally produce nearly 4 crore metres of grey fabric daily, but are producing hardly 2.5 crore metres at present due to overall inflation, Vakharia said. Besides, high prices of coal have made textile processing even costlier.

Instead of retrenching workers, many processors have told them to take three to four days off in a week till the situation improves, he said. More than 2,500 textile processing units are situated in and around Surat, the state’s commercial capital. They employ more than 2.5 lakh people directly.

At the 300-odd textile processing units in Ahmedabad, production of grey fabric has gone down by 50% to nearly 1 crore metre per day, according to Naresh Sharma, vice-president of Ahmedabad Textile Processors’ Association.

Most of the units are functioning just three to four days a week, he said. Some of the bigger units have decided to function in a single shift. “We are permitting migrant workers to go on vacation to their respective states, as more than 70% of the the total workforce of the textile processing sector of Gujarat is from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan,” he said.

The small textile dyeing and printing cluster at Jetpur in Rajkot district is also facing similar challenges. The units here predominantly process pure cotton fabric. But high cotton prices have resulted in 50% less grey fabric arriving in the town.

Most textile processors in the state think the situation is likely to improve only around Diwali, with the arrival of fresh raw cotton in the market.

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