‘Ban the export or impose 15 per cent duty on its export'

A majority of the textile and weaving units in Salem, Namakkal, Erode and Tirupur districts remained closed on Friday as the two-day strike called by the textile industry urging the Central Government to impose total ban on the export of raw cotton and cotton yarn commenced. The wholesale and retail shops selling textile related goods in these districts also downed their shutters.

Members of the South India Textile Manufacturers' Association said that the textile and weaving industries in the country were under severe stress due to the spiralling prices of cotton yarn. The removal of restrictions on the export of raw cotton from October 1 would lead to further increase in the yarn prices. This, in turn, would result in the closure of many weaving units. Lakhs of workers would be rendered jobless, they apprehended.

“The export of raw cotton benefits only a few traders. The cotton farmers, who are getting the minimum support price of the government, are not enjoying the benefits of exports,” association president M.S. Mathivanan pointed out. “If cotton is made available to the domestic industry, lakhs of people in the country will benefit,” he added.

A total ban on export of raw cotton would enable the domestic industries to get adequate supply of cotton yarn at reasonable rates. “The government should consider this demand. It should also take steps to ban the export of cotton yarn or impose 15 per cent duty on its export,” he demanded.

The association also threatened that its members would go on an indefinite strike if the government failed to respond to its plea. The members of Salem Handloom Textiles Wholesale Traders Association and Salem District Yarn Merchants' Association, though thanked Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for taking up the issue with Prime Minister, pointed out that the strike would result in a loss of Rs.200 crore as nearly three lakh people in the industry were on strike. They also urged the Tamil Nadu Government to provide free power supply to the weavers to save the industry.

In Tirupur district too, textile activities were crippled and majority of shops remained closed. Even in those apparel manufacturing units which remained open, the production was disrupted due to want of workers.

AITUC State president K. Subbarayan termed the shutdown call a ‘grand success.'

“It shows that how people have realised that the entire Tirupur economy has been at the receiving end of the rising cotton prices, which, if not controlled now, could bring the textile activities to a standstill,” he said.