Knitwear export from this hosiery centre would witness a 30 per cent decline in the next fiscal if the current crisis triggered by closure of about 700 dyeing and bleaching units is unresolved for another couple of months, according to A Shaktivel, President of the Tirupur Exporters’ Association.
Knitwear exports at Rs 11,800 crore in the last fiscal, saw just an eight per cent growth to Rs 12,500 crore this fiscal with Feb 4 as cut-off date as against anticipated 25 per cent growth or to cross Rs 15,000 crore, he told reporters here.
This was due to closure of nearly 700 units in and around Tirupur due to failure to comply with pollution norms of Zero effluent discharge in the backdrop of the recent Madras High Court directive, he said.
Major exporters were sending fabrics for dyeing to distant cities like Ludhiana, Surat and other towns in Gujarat apart from nearby Perunthurai and Erode, he said.
Apart from hitting delivery schedules, closures had rendered nearly one lakh workers jobless and some more were ready to migrate after getting transfer certificates of their wards from schools, putting serious pressure on the industry, he said.
Stating that the industry, which was limping back to normalcy after two dull years, is expecting a 30 per cent increase in export, in value and quantity terms, he said though it has registered Rs 12,500 crore in value terms, quantity wise export this year was lesser than previous year.
Despite the industry convincing buyers to increase rates and banks helping manufacturers, either by giving one year moratorium of repayment of interest and infusing more capital, the crisis has splashed cold water on their hopes, he claimed.
The industry was now pinning hopes on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had promised to find a viable solution’ to the problem during his recent visit to Coimbatore, he said.
Mr. Shaktivel said overseas buyers look to India for quality and quantity articles, as the country has the advantage of raw material and labour forces, compared to major competing countries like China and Bangladesh.
Moreover, China and Bangladesh would be unable to execute orders as the latter has serious problem in raw materials, while China has acute labour shortage as most workers are leaving the industry to IT and engineering sectors, he said.
On installing equipment like evaporators and chillers for zero discharge of effluent for existing plants, he said though the eight Common Effluent Treatment Plants had installed it, there was some technical snag for its implementation.
He said there was no chance of ensuring zero discharge but only minimising its impact on agriculture, which would comply with pollution norms. Also existing units have to pump in Rs 70 to Rs 80 crore to install chillers to reduce effluent impact.
On marine discharge project, he said though both Centre and Tamil Nadu governments had sanctioned funds for a feasibility and study report, it would take one year for it.