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Electricity load shedding - Blessing for Powerloom weavers?

Tuesday November 06, 2012 02:18:29 PM, Staff Reporter



Malegaon: Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s announcement that the state will be ‘load shedding free’ by the end of 2012 may appear as a new-year gift for people and industrialists. But, howsoever surprising it may sound, it has made the powerloom weavers in Malegaon jittery.

“It may appear bizarre. But the power cuts that started in 2004-05 though adversely affected the country’s potential for economic growth, were blessing in disguise for the textile industry in Malegaon”, Vipul Shah, Vice President of Malegaon Industries & Manufacturers Association (MIMA) observed.


Justifying his observation, he said that production control had always been a major problem for the local textile industry. Even under sluggish market conditions, the weavers instead of cutting down duties would prefer running powerloom units for full 24 hours.

“It was literally against the business principle, and on expected lines, resulted in imbalance supply and demand ratio. But for the reasons best known to them, the weavers in Malegaon were doing it even if it would mean selling the fabrics on less than the actual cost price”, he said.

There are others who opined that the powerloom weavers were so short of the running capital that they could not afford to cut duty hours.

“When market is in red, we definitely incur huge losses. But cutting duties to control production and hence the losses have never been an option in our minds. For, we run our business with minimal funds and any reduction in duty hours would mean disturbing the entire business cycle and inviting total collapse”, Ghulam Jaffer, a weaver, said.

When they were imposed, the prolonged power cuts - a curse for ordinary people and other industries, resulted in a massive drop in daily production consequently turning the market bullish and giving the powerloom weavers extra margins in terms of profit.

“It is a typical situation. What the powerloom weavers could not do on their own became possible due to the power cuts”, Ganesh R Sali of the government owned local Powerloom Service Centre (PSC) said.

As profit increased and huge money started flowing, number of powerlooms which was around 1, 50,000 in 2006 rose to almost double in 2011, according to the estimate available with the Powerloom Service Centre PSC). An industry insider said that though the increasing number of powerlooms has again compromised with the production, but the weavers are happy as along as the electricity load shedding continues.

“This is the reason why opposition to power cuts have never been so pressing in Malegaon. Any attempt to demand uninterrupted power supply by people from other industries and business has also failed due to the same reason”, he said.

In fact, Rashid Tahir Momin, Samajwadi Party MLA of Bhiwandi, who was recently in Malegaon to address a rally against the electricity load shedding, surprised the organisers by supporting power cuts.


“Because of the recession in the textile industry, we are demanding from Torrent Company to re-start the load shedding in Bhiwandi”, he said while addressing the rally even as the organisers watched with dismay.

Amid this tug-of-war which the critics say is marred by politics and influenced by personal goals, the worst affected lot besides industries other than the textiles are the students and common men who moan, none is on their sides.

“The prolonged load shedding has virtually collapsed the Information Technology and computer education in almost every school and college in the minority concentrated areas”, Prof Razee Anwer, HoD at JAT College’s B.Sc. (Computer Science) section said.

Even the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) is not worried about the people other than the textile industry who are affected by the load shedding. While it is enjoying the struggle of one-up-man-ship played between the industrialists, it advises educational institutions to try some other means to get electricity.

“They should use inverters and battery backup for their computer labs”, said Dy Executive Engineer YN Phirke.










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