K.A. Martin

Units consider layoffs, production curbs

GTN Textiles informs staff of a 20% production cut

Power shortage estimates of KSEB, industrialists differ

KOCHI: With a thermal surcharge and 25 per cent power cut on industrial establishments coming into effect, many units are mulling layoffs and production restrictions.

The public sector Travancore Cochin Chemicals (TCC) and Binani Zinc, in Eloor and the Aditya Birla group Indal and GTN Textiles, Aluva, appear to be among the first victims as they contemplate a future course of action to survive these difficult times.

GTN Textiles is learnt to have intimated employees that there would be 20 per cent production restrictions. The unit is involved in exports and provides employment to nearly 800 people, says V.P. George of the INTUC.

The extra expense

It is learnt that TCC would have to cough up Rs.2.8 crore extra monthly on account of the new power regime. The unit, the biggest power consumer in the State needs 14 million units monthly.

Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited will have to find an extra Rs.70 lakh monthly to pay its electricity bills while Indal is facing the heat because it is on the brink of reaching a long-term agreement with the Electricity Board on drawing power till 2014. (If the differences are sorted out, it can result in the setting up of a new extrusion press at the Alupuram unit that would provide employment to about 80 more people.)

KSEB’s loss

A spokesman for High Tension and Extra High Tension Industrial Consumers’ Association said that the Board stood to lose heavily because of the restrictions on industrial establishments.

He said that the total power shortage would be nearly 11 per cent and the Board would require about Rs.1,400 crore to buy this at the rate specified by the Centre.

However, by spreading the burden evenly among domestic consumers, it would be possible for the Board to manage the current crisis.

The Board estimates that hydel power generation shortage would be to the tune of 2,333 million units whereas the industrial consumers have calculated that the shortage would just be around 600 million units.

The industrialists and KSEB have differed on the calculation on the projected shortage of hydel power generation in the State.

The Board has taken the driest year, in terms of rainfall, during the last 10 years to calculate the hydel output whereas the industrialists have taken the average rainfall during the last 10 years to make their calculations.

Trade unions’ meet

Meanwhile, a convention of industrialists and trade unions under the aegis of Standing Council of Trade Unions at Kalamssery on Monday focussed its energy on finding ways to tide over the crisis and convincing the Electricity Board to reconsider its decisions.

The meeting was inaugurated by Sebastian Paul, MP.