The Tamil Nadu government has announced relaxations allowing industries, particularly export units, to resume operations with standard operating procedure as suggested by the Union government.
India’s largest exporter hub, Tirupur garments/knitwear cluster, is all set to resume its operations after more than 40 days of lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Having lost their summer exports due to the pandemic across the globe, the exporting units numbering into over 1,200 are expected to begin their operations on Wednesday as per guidelines laid down by both the central and state governments and the local Collectorate.
The Tamil Nadu government has announced relaxations allowing industries, particularly export units, to resume operations with standard operating procedure (SOP) as suggested by the Union government.
“It is high time that we need to start our operations as the cluster had already lost its summer exports, worth more than Rs 2,400 crore. We have been getting enquiries to send sampling units from our decades-old buyers for spring summer, autumn, winter seasons,” said Raja M Shanmugham, president, Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA).
“Every other units here are gearing up to send samples as they cannot afford anymore to sit idle. With the competitors such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and China having started their operations in the last few days, it’s inevitable for us to gear up fast or otherwise buyers will shift sourcing from India, particularly from this cluster,” Shanmugham said.
“Exporting of garments/ knitwears is a continuous process. It’s round-the-year business. It’s a people’s product and the demand for seasonal products has always been there, except for situation like the current Covid-19 one. The buyers, primarily from the US and European Union, account for more than 70% of total business in Tirupur and equally keep enquiring us to send sampling products so that they can place orders for the ensuing seasons well in advance,” he said, adding that while a few units have upfront orders, the rest will strive hard to grab the rising opportunities from across the world.
Responding to a question, Shanmugham said, those units situated within the corporation limits have started applying for permission with the Collectorate to resume their operations. Based on that, he said that an inspection would be done to ensure both their identity as well as procedures to be followed as prescribed by the state government. It will be gradual but certain that the units are ready to begin operations on Wednesday, he added. “For those units situated outside the corporation limits, they can begin operations without permission but will be inspected whether they follow SOP.”
According to him, there must be some inventory with the units as they were forced to close down their units due to Covid-19 pandemic in the last week of March. But those are manageable and can be exported, too. All the units will begin with the manpower available locally in the radius of 2-5 km as it takes time to bring back migrant labourers from within the state and without and public transport is not allowed at this point of time.
For the fiscal ended March 31, 2020, Tirupur would have lost exports anywhere between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 2,000 crore over the last fiscal’s Rs 26,000 crore. Since majority of the units are yet to get their export payments for March, the actual loss in exports will be known in the next one or two months, he added. For the fiscal 2020-21, it’s too early to predict the the quantum of business loss, but may take a hit of around Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 6,000 crore.