VELLAKOVIL: Open-end spinning mills in and around the Kangayam-Vellakovil belt have either cut down or stopped production.
Of the 300 open-end spinning machines in over 65 mills in the region, only about 250 are in operation in around 45 mills. “The mills have stopped production or are lying idle because of the rise prices of waste cotton, which is the raw material,” says R. Kittusamy, president, Vellakovil Open-end Spinning Mills Association. The open-end spinning mills purchase the cotton from regular spinning mills, where it is a waste.
The industries then use the waste cotton to spin out coarser varieties of yarn called mota ragam.
The yarn the open-end mills spin is used by handloom and powerloom weavers in Chennimalai, Bhavani, Karur and other places to weave bedsheets, bed spreads, blankets, grey fabric, etc. The 65-odd mills in the region consume about 1.8-lakh kg of waste cotton a day to spin 1.5-lakh kg of coarser varieties of yarn.
The mills procure the waste cotton mostly from spinning mills in and around Guntur in Andhra Pradesh and also from spinning mills in Tamil Nadu.
The treasurer of the association, P. S. Sivachellamuthu, says the price of the waste cotton has gone up by over 33 per cent. “From Rs. 36 a kg a couple of months ago, it has reached Rs. 48 now and that excludes transportation cost.”
The association wants the Union Government to ban export of waste cotton, which they say is the reason behind price escalation. “The scarcity of waste cotton has led to increase in prices. But the price of yarn has remained the same, making industries struggle,” the Association has said in a letter seeking ban on exports to the Union Minister for Textiles. Mr. Kittusamy points out that Tamil Nadu is more affected because it has the highest concentration of open-end spinning mills in the country.
“Of the 3,000-odd units in India, more than 1,500 are in the State,” he says and adds that the industry supports around 10,000 labourers, who too are affected.