Long road to recovery for plywood units

Workers engaged in a plywood factory near Perumbavoor.  

The roughly ₹1,000-crore plywood and allied products industry in and around Perumbavoor, near here, continues to smart under the impact of the devastating floods in the middle of August that inundated industrial premises, washed away products and raw materials, and damaged machinery and equipment.

“It is a long road to recovery and we expect the Union and State governments to give a helping hand,” said M.M. Mujeeb Rahman, president, Saw Mill Owners’ and Plywood Manufacturers’ Association, on Monday. Seventy plywood units around Perumbavoor were flooded, 40 of them fully submerged.

There are around 400 small and medium plywood units in Ernakulam and he said that the loss was around ₹100 crore.

However, Industries Department sources said that it would be two to three months before the most severely affected units stood on their feet again. This implies substantial loss of employment and production. The plywood industry employs around three lakh people, most of them from outside the State.

₹65-crore loss

A preliminary estimate by the Industries Department said that 75 plywood units were affected by the floods, resulting in an estimated loss of ₹65 crore.

The industry association has written to the Union Finance and MSME Ministries seeking support. A memorandum submitted to the Union government has appealed for reducing GST from 18% to 12%.

Mr. Rahman also said that the units would have sustained losses ranging between ₹60 lakh and ₹2 crore. These units needed interest-free loans as well as a moratorium on existing ones.

P. Shafeek, owner of a unit at Pizhakkappilly, said some help had been forthcoming. For instance, the units had been allowed to make deferred payment on their electricity bills.

Mr. Rahman expressed apprehensions that though most of the units had been insured, insurance companies might refuse compensation on the basis of technicalities. Payment of compensation had to be expedited to help the affected units, he said. Despite the crisis they themselves faced, the plywood industry had been active in providing free plywood and allied materials for the rehabilitation of the flood-hit in Kuttanad and other areas, said Mr. Rahman.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 10:58:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/long-road-to-recovery-for-plywood-units/article24922326.ece

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