Praising Maharashtra’s entrepreneurial spirit, Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Textiles, on Tuesday, brought home the Centres readiness to take Mumbai further ahead on the path to modernisation.
Mr. Maran was the chief guest at an inauguration function of three ‘modernised’ textile mills, organised by National Textile Corporation Limited (NTC) in Mumbai.
The event marked the ‘revival-cum-modernisation’ of Tata Mills, Podar Mills and the India United Mill no. 5 with a capital outlay of Rs. 130 crore.
Mr. Maran said that the upgraded mills and the seven textile parks in Mumbai were of a piece with NTC’s programme of mill modernisation. If the State needed more textile parks, “we will be ready and willing,” he said.
While Maharashtra’s cotton growing districts in Vidarbha accounted for huge outputs of cotton, “the ginning process is in a very bad state,” Mr. Maran observed. “I have instructed the NTC to set up state-of-the-art ginning facilities so that the cotton which is grown in Maharashtra fetches more value and meets international standards.”
In the context of the mill worker’s housing problem, Mr. Maran, said NTC had given 12 acres of prime land in Mumbai for the development of chawls and municipalities.
On the issue of feared closure of Bharatmata theatre for Marathi movies, Mr. Maran said Bharatmata, which stands on NTC land, would continue screening Marathi films as before.
On the other hand, he said a joint action group would be constituted to look into the demand for land for the renovation of Chaityabhoomi Dr. B R Ambedkar’s memorial at Dadar in Mumbai.
Mills not for real estate
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan exclaimed that Mumbai’s mill colonies, which fell into pallor, after the mills became defunct, would once again resonate with the sounds of looms.
He said there was a ‘misconception’ among people that mill land was being used for real estate. “Mills are not for real estate business, but for the protection of the interests of the workers,” he said.
Around 2,500 workers are now employed in the three modernised mills, according to NTC. Mr. Chavan also announced plans for a museum on Mumbai’s textile history.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said 10,000 houses were currently being constructed for the mill workers at subsidised rates, while 7,000 houses were planned for the second phase.
Rita Menon, Secretary (Textiles), listed a few of the NTC’s ‘ambitious plans’ for the industry. She said, in the next few years, the corporation aimed to engage Rs. 2,000 crore for textile upgrade. In all, 24 mills have been modernised by the NTC, 77 ‘unviable mills’ have been closed. She said the corporation proposes to set up a facility for ‘technical textiles’.
NTC expects to raise Rs. 4,000-crore from sale of its assets across three cities, Mr. Maran said. It had already sold land of five mills in Mumbai.
“We hope when the real estate market improves, NTC will be able to fetch Rs. 4,000-crore from assets sales in Mumbai, Kanpur and Indore,” he said.
Stating that the state-run entity had come out of the red with active support from the Government, he said NTC had already garnered Rs. 4,034-crore through the sale of assets, which mainly include land of the closed mills.
The corporation was focussing on downward linkages and re-energising 93 retail outlets to capture institutional sales, the Union Minister said.
NTC is all set to start exporting yarn to China and would seek joint venture partners for showroom sales, Mr. Maran said, adding that it was actively exploring business opportunities during the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, especially in the clothes and uniforms segments.