Tamil Nadu

Coronavirus | Rise in cases, night curfew hits power loom sector in TN

A power loom unit that was closed during night curfew in Erode on Wednesday night   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in different States and the night curfew in Tamil Nadu has badly affected the power loom sector in Erode district that was slowly recovering from last year’s lockdown and the steep hike in the price of yarn.

About 55,000 power loom units function in the district, producing dhotis, saris, towels, cotton and rayon fabric providing jobs directly and indirectly to over 50,000 workers, including loadmen and vehicle operators. These units function in two shifts, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. while a worker earns an average of ₹500 per shift. Most of the units function for six days a week while a few units function on Sundays also.

Over 30,000 units functioning at Veerappanchatiram, Ashokapuram, Manickampalayam, Lakkapuram Rasampalayam and Chithode were involved in producing 24 lakh metre rayon fabrics every day. “But due to the pandemic in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, traders failed to procure the finished fabrics and also to place new orders in the past 15 days,” said B. Kandavel, coordinator, Tamil Nadu Federation of Power Loom Association. Also, due to elections in West Bengal, fabrics were not sent to the State for the past one month. He said that fabrics worth over ₹100 crore were stocked, forcing many power loom owners to halt production. “Due to night curfew, most of the power looms function only during daytime affecting production of 12 lakh metre rayon fabrics every day,” he added.

L.P. Balasubramanian, secretary, Lakkapuram Power Loom Owners Association said that about 3,500 power looms function at Lakkapuram village and due to the night curfew and total lockdown on Sundays, workers were allowed to work only for three shifts a week. “Now, power looms function only from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day”, he said and added that workers will receive only half of their weekly wages.

Many unit owners said that they are yet to recover from the first wave and they fear that the second wave, if it continues for over a month, would halt production completely.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 12:05:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/coronavirus-rise-in-cases-night-curfew-hits-power-loom-sector-in-tn/article34383728.ece

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