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Textile news - 1,400 Jetpur textile units battle high input costs

Increase in prices of raw cloth, dyes and transport, coupled with low demand leave factories reeling; may start retrenching workers

Over 70,000 people directly work in the textile units here and another 1 lakh persons are indirectly associated with them.

Jetpur's textile units, famous for their colourful cotton saris and other printed fabrics, are facing a challenging time owing to increased input costs and low demand and supply disruption over the last year. Unit owners are barely able to hold back their permanent workers, but say they might have to begin lay-offs sooner or later given the situation.

Jetpur is one of the largest MSME clusters in the country for screen-printing, block printing and yarn dyeing. Located 70 km from Rajkot, the cluster is well-known for its printed cotton saris, and is also a major exporter of `khanga' and `kitange' variety of fabrics used widely in all of Africa for various purposes.

Export hub battling crises

Leading Jetpur businessman and exporter Anand Jasani said, "Already businesses were badly hurt by the lockdown as there was no supply of raw material or demand for clothes. But even after the market opened, the entire industry is battling with high cost of materials and several other issues."

"Poplin and 190 gm cotton are the raw materials we use in production of fabric. Prices of both input materials have jumped in the past one year with poplin going from Rs 35 to Rs 43 for one metre and cotton cloth increasing from Rs 30 to Rs 36. Also, waste disposal costs have increased. Till now, there were pipelines to dispose of dye waste. Now, due to pollution concerns, the units are required to use tankers to carry liquid waste to other places for disposal. The price of printing dyes, another essential input, has increased by 30% while finishing chemicals have become costlier by 50%. The reason for this price rise is improper import cycle and freight price hike. Both dyes and chemicals are imported mostly from China."

Procuring from afar driving up costs

Local manufacturer Sanjay Vekaria, who is also a committee member of Jetpur Dyeing and Printing Association, said, "Besides material costs, domestic transport has also become dearer because of constant fuel price hikes."

About 20% of the textile factories in Jetpur may be completely closed down, said Vekaria. Of the rest, about 30% of the units may be running at a mere 20% utilisation, and another 30% of them are operating at only half the capacity, he said. According to association president Jayantibhai Ramolia, Jetpur has a large number of MSMEs with earnings of less than Rs 5 lakh a year. "We are asking the government to help. The total production of textile in Jetpur crosses Rs 2,000 crore per annum, but this time it is expected to stay well below Rs 1500 crore," said Ramolia.

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