This year's Deepavali season is looking bleak for thousands of industrial workers as small industries in Madurai and other southern districts have been hit by over five hours of power cuts daily in the past four days. This has severely hit the production cycle of small units, which are not economically strong to afford diesel-powered generators.

P. Sitaraman, founder president and current executive committee member of Plastic Manufacturers Association of Madurai (PLASMA), told The Hindu on Saturday that chemicals and plastic industries were the worst hit. Deepavali season was the period when orders for plastic industries were at their highest and the impact of power cuts now would be felt very hard.

These units require at least one hour of pre-heating before the production cycle commences with even a power supply interruption of five minutes will considerably set back the production.

“We faced at least six hours power cut spread across five intervals on Thursday and another five hours on Friday. Even if the production is halted because of power supply disruptions, we still have to service the interests, which have increased by nearly 50 per cent in the recent months,” he added.

Mr. Sitaraman urged the State Government to immediately call the trade and industry for discussions and arrive at a solution.

M.R. Rajendran, president of Kappalur Industrial Estate Manufacturers' Association, which has around 300 small units employing 12,000 workers in the estate, said, “If the present situation continues, we will be unable to meet the bonus demands of our labourers as the units would not have fulfilled all the festival season orders.”

Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association president V. S Manimaran said that some immediate short measures must be taken up on a war footing to help small industries meet the Deepavali season demand. TANGEDCO officials were blaming the increased power cuts to higher demand as commercial establishments were operating for longer hours this season. The power problem was also compounding the existing labour shortage, he added.

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