Hope turns to despair for manynon-woven fabric bag producers

About 180 entrepreneurs who took to manufacturing non-woven fabric bags, which was earlier touted as an alternative to plastic carry bags, are in a fix as these bags have also been brought under the ambit of government’s ban on use-and-throw plastic products.

A section of the entrepreneurs say they set up their units sensing a business opportunity, following the government ban on use-and-throw plastic goods. “Originally, as per the Government Order No. 84 (banning use-and-throw plastics) issued in June 2018, only 13 items were listed but in January this year non-woven fabric bags were also included in the list. This has thrown us out of business, raising a question mark on our livelihood,” said a group of entrepreneurs who addressed a media conference in Tiruchi on Saturday to highlight their plight.

They said most of them availed loans under State and Central government schemes such as New Entrepreneur-cum-Enterprise Development Scheme (NEEDS) and Mudra Scheme. “Most of us have set up units at a cost of ₹60 lakh to ₹2 crore. While a part of the investments came from loans sanctioned under government schemes, many of us pledged properties to raise loans for our individual contributions. I, for one, have pledged my house to raise ₹30 lakh, besides a Mudra scheme loan of ₹10 lakh,” said A.Lakshmi Narayanan, one of the entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurs claimed that nearly half the units manufacturing non-woven fabric bags came up in the State after the G.O. was issued. “We were told that these bags were the alternative to plastics as they are biodegradable. Our projects were funded by banks and government agencies such as Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation. We were also provided training in government institutes. But now we have been asked to close down the units and repay the loans. We are facing a crisis as we are unable to repay the loans,” said S. Manoharan, another entrepreneur.

‘Write off loans’

Urging the State government to exclude non-woven fabric bags from the banned items, the entrepreneurs said that machines installed by them were product specific and could not be used for manufacturing any other product. Otherwise, they urged the government to write off their loans and help them recover their investment and properties.

“The District Industries Centres should help us take up alternative ventures and our CIBIL score, which has gone down due to the payment default over the last six months, should not be taken into consideration by bankers,” said Mr.Lakshmi Narayanan.

The entrepreneurs also claimed that they were not being given an opportunity to meet Minister for Environment and State government officials to explain their plight.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:34:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/hope-turns-to-despair-for-many-non-woven-farbic-bag-producers/article28739027.ece

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