Tailors and small scale traders face crisis situation owing to 12 to 14 hours of load shedding

Individuals who prefer to have their clothes made to order rather than pick up ready-to-wear garments should brace up for possible delays in deliveries as many tailors in the city are struggling to meet the demand in view of the heavy load shedding ahead of Deepavali.

Small businesses such as tailoring units and small-scale flour mills that are dependent heavily on festival business are facing a severe crisis situation in view of the 12 to 14 hours of power cuts in the region ahead of Deepavali.

After a few days of relief thanks to the widespread rain, about 14 hours of load shedding has become the order of the day in the city. Over the past few days, load shedding is enforced for eight hours in two four-hour spells between dawn and dusk, effectively robbing small businesses of their working hours in a day. This apart, power cuts are enforced for at least two hours between 6 and 10 p.m. and in 60 to 90 minute spells every alternative hour during the night.

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) started resorting to 12 hours of load shedding from mid-September after wind power generation dwindled. Towards the end of October, there was some relief for a few hours especially during the days of rain and load shedding during the nights was reduced to some extent. Even then the TANGEDCO had resorted to only two three-hour spells of power cuts during the day. But now it has been increased to two four-hour spells, badly affecting the output of small traders, many of whom say they cannot afford gensets.

Tailors, a worried lot

Tailors, for instance, seem to be the worst hit this festive season so much so that some of them are worried over facing the wrath of customers if they overshoot delivery schedules, which some say could extend possibly beyond Deepavali. Most tailors have stopped taking orders this year much before their usual “stop order” time.

“This has been one of our worst years in terms of output though we have got more orders than last year. We stopped taking orders over 10 days back. Yet we are struggling to complete the orders already accepted. We can hardly operate our motor-operated sewing machines, which are essential to increase output, as we get power supply only for just about two to three hours during the day. Stitching using machines manually takes a lot of time. Besides, women feel tired and complain of leg and hip pain when they are forced to operate sewing machines manually,” says Kavitha, a tailor who runs a tailoring unit employing over half-a-dozen women tailors in the city.

“With just about five days to go for Deepavali, I am worried whether I would be able to complete the orders that I have accepted,” says Chithra Gopalakrishnan, another tailor in the city. Although many people have switched over to readymade garments, these tailoring units still attract sizeable number of customers, especially women, tailors say.

Similarly, the few small-scale flour mills, which do some brisk business ahead of Deepavali, complain that they were unable to operate the grinding machines for most part of the day, leaving customers who traditionally prepare their family sweets for the festival in a spot of bother.

No schedule

What irks most small business owners and domestic consumers is the fact that the TANGEDCO has not yet specified the duration or the schedule of load shedding.

“The supply is so erratic we cannot use our domestic appliances, which often break down when power returns. We are ready to bear the burden of power shortage, but the TANGEDCO should come out with a schedule of load shedding hours so that we can plan our work,” says Choodamani, a resident.

A senior TANGEDCO official, when contacted, said they were not yet ready to commit on a schedule given the fluctuating situation. “But were trying to stick to a routine as far as possible and we are hoping to notify a schedule when the situation (power generation) improves,” he said.