Sellur Handloom Cloth Manufacturers Association on Tuesday warned of an indefinite strike if the Central Government did not impose a complete ban on exports of raw cotton and yarn.

Addressing a press conference here, association president G. Subash Chandra Bose said that extreme volatility in the prices of raw material was having a tremendous impact on the sector. The price of a 5-kg ball of yarn had jumped from Rs.560 to Rs.710 in the last two months alone.

Further, there is also a shortage of cotton in India, he said. In such a scenario, around 20 per cent of the total cotton produced in India and 15 per cent of the yarn was being exported resulting in an “artificial shortage.”

Further aggravating the issue was that a majority of these exports were going to countries like China and Bangladesh, which are India's competitors in the sector, he said.

Giving the background for their demands, Association secretary M. Balasubramanian said that capital investment had increased in recent years to Rs.2 lakh crore. Many modern and sophisticated equipment were going to arrive as investments to the tune of Rs.50,000 crore had been lined up, he said.

He also demanded that cloth manufacturers be given a subsidy of Rs.20 for one kilogram of cotton. He also demanded the scrapping of 4 per cent sales tax. “We are not asking for something new. This scheme already existed during the regime of Rajiv Gandhi and we are only asking for reviving it,” he said.

Discussions were also being held with trade bodies in other textile-oriented districts such as Karur, Erode and Tiruppur to evolve a common plan of action, he added.

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