With the Gujarat government not permitting any lockdown relaxation, especially within municipal corporation limits of red-zoned areas, the revenue hit Surat-based synthetic textile industry has sought some clarity on the issue.
Led by the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC), several associations have made representations to the state government to allow some economic activity to resume in the diamond and textile city of Surat.
With Surat accounting for 45 per cent of total man-made fibre or synthetic textiles produced and synthetic textile yarn, fibre, fabrics and made-ups accounting for annual exports of $6 billion, SRTEPC has said sought some easing in order to revive the industry.
On Sunday, Gujarat government had issued a notification under which a total lockdown remainsin force over the next two weeks in areas falling under the municipal corporation limits of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Gandhinagar, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. Large parts of these cities are in red zones due to high number of Covid-19 cases. This is contrary to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) guidelines on the extended lockdown till May 17 issued on Friday that permitted movement of individuals in private vehicles, reopening of private offices with 33 per cent strength, resumption of shops selling non-essential items even in red zones with certain restrictions.
According to a letter written to the government by SRTEPC, cities like Surat, Ahmedabad,Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and certain areas mentioned in the notice issued by Government of Gujarat are highest contributor to state revenue and maximum number of industries and their offices with large workforce are situated in aforesaid cities.
"Since 22nd march no commercial activities have taken place which has big negative impact on trade and industry with respect to sales and revenue when almost 90-95 per cent commercial activities are in lockdown condition. How will industry provide salaries, wages, electricity charges, bank interest, bank repayments, loan instalments and other fixed expenses in absence of any revenue and survive if the lockdown is extended? We fear keeping in view huge number of unemployed workforce and absence of cash flow will create the state of anarchy in the area," SRTEPC has said in its representation to the government.
As such, since the entire textile is decentralized into spinning, weaving/knitting, merchant manufacturers, processing, value addition, wholesale trade, garment manufacturing and retail, the industry can only start if all the activities related to production and trading are started together, the industry body has stated.
Narain Aggarwal, chairperson of SRTEPC has also said that the industry body has asked the state government to allow as many migrant workers as possible to go back to their home states. "If they want to go back to their home states then they should be allowed. Anyway if relaxation is provided, units may not be able to resume operations at a higher capacity till some time," Aggarwal added.