Special Correspondent

SIMA seeks tax sops for running generators; plans 500 mw plant

CHENNAI: The premier body in the textile industry, Southern India Mills' Association (SIMA), on Tuesday said many of its member-units in Tamil Nadu were incurring substantial losses on account of frequent and unplanned power cuts.

Addressing press persons here, frontline leaders of SIMA led by its chairman S.V. Arumugam said though the spinning mills were facing "power tripping" since last January the situation had become acute in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The estimated loss for the member-mills of the Association as a result of the power failures last year was Rs. 800 crore, they said and disputed the claim of Tamil Nadu being a power surplus state.

"There is a [power] shortage in the State ... and this shortage is not being equally distributed [among the mills]," according to past chairman of SIMA Manikam Ramaswami. While several mills did not suffer any disruption in the power supply, the tripping was frequent for some.

Such a situation, he pointed, existed as the decision to maintain or cut the supply was at the discretion of the lower level employees of the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. "There is no transparency, no equity ... pathetically managed," he said.

"If there is a shortage, they [authorities] should announce ... and go for a shutdown," he said, while noting that the mills fear the problem will turn worse in April-May. A press handout issued at the meet said the tripping/shutdowns were not uniformly distributed among various circles and even between mills within the circle.

Another past chairman of SIMA T. Kannan said, "If there are trippings, then there is a shortage ... and it calls for better management."

According to Mr. Arumugam each power tripping resulted in a production loss of over 20 minutes in the mills even if the tripping was for a fraction of a minute. To a query, he said the most affected due to the power failures were the mills in and around Madurai, south of Madurai and Coimbatore.