Malegaon: In a timely relief to the Malegaon textile cluster, reeling under recession since January 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in its judgment delivered on November 04, 2015, has given conditional permission to re-start the textile processing units in Pali, Balotra and the surrounding areas provided they comply with the guidelines of the tribunal and the state pollution control board.
Though it will take another two weeks or so before the situation comes back to normal, the judgment, coming few days ahead of Diwali, has brought back the smile on the faces of yarn traders, weavers and grey cloth merchants, who had a gloomy festive season including Eid, Bakra Eid and Dassehra in Malegaon.
“The monitoring committee headed by the district collector will meet after Diwali vacation for the assessment of the textile processing units. As per the judgment of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the units fulfilling the condition as laid down in the judgment will be given permission to re-start industrial operation, provided they have also deposited the security money”, Rakesh Dhingra, Asst. Environmental Engineer Balotra, said.
The National Green Tribunal's (NGT) circuit bench of Jodhpur had ordered the closure of about 739 textile processing units in Pali, Balotra, and their surrounding areas of Jasol and Bithuja because of non-compliance of the environmental norms. The tribunal had also ordered the trust operating the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) to renew the Consent to Operate the plant and obtain the hazardous waste disposal authorization from the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board.
Dhingra said assessment of all textile processing units in one go is not possible, yet the board is trying its best to complete the procedure as early as possible. “Things are expected to come to normal by the month end or maximum by the first week of December”, he added.
Losses and burden
Malegaon, the second largest textile cluster after Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, was already under recession due to market slowdown at the international level. But, after the textile processing units in Rajasthan were closed following the court order, the situation reached to such a level that power loom units in Malegaon were forced to run only for 3-4 days in a week.
“The industry incurred a turnover loss of more than 35% because of the slowdown”, Amol Tapadiya, a leading yarn trader, said.
“I never came across such a situation in last fifteen years”, he added.
Malegaon has about 2,50,000 power looms manufacturing roughly about 02 crore meters of grey cloth per day. It comprised of 60% cotton grey cloth, 35% synthetic and 05% color saris and lungis, employing directly or indirectly a population of about 6.5 lakh people. Besides widespread unemployment, the recession has left many weavers and grey cloth merchants bankrupt.
“Considering an average cost of the grey cloth manufactured in the city as Rs.15 per meter, closing down the power loom unit for one day means a production loss of 30 crore rupees. And, weavers are running their units for 3-4 days in a week since January. From this one can judge what a huge loss the industry must have incurred”, Hastimal Vadera of Mahalaxmi Textile Traders (MTT) said.
Notwithstanding the huge losses the industry incurred due to the prolonged recession mainly because of the closure of textile processing units in Rajasthan, it pushed the stakeholders to look for other means and alternative so that the situation is not repeated in future.
“Currently, more than 95% of cotton grey cloth fabrics manufactured in Malegaon go to processing units in Pali, Balotra and the surrounding areas. The industry does not have any other alternatives for absorption of their finished produce. It is high time Malegaon adapts to latest technologies and modern machines to open the doors of direct export and other viable options”, Amol Tapadia said.
Amol also said that besides modern machines to manufacture export quality fabrics, the city also needed yarn spinning mills in and around so that the cost of raw material is checked.
“In clusters like Ichalkiranji we have the best example. It has about 26 spinning mills in and around the city and it helps the cluster a lot for its survival in the highly competitive market, especially in the time of crisis”, he said.
What makes Amol’s advice more important is the fact that Malegaon right now has just one spinning mills, under co-operative sector, and two privately owned textile process units. Whereas, looking at the local demand the city at least needs 100 processing units and 10 spinning mills.
“This is not a big deal if someone starts working in this direction. Malegaon has sufficient availability of suitable water, and also has enough supply of raw cotton in the surrounding areas”, Hastimal Vadera said.
True to the suggestions and advices mooted by Vadera and Tapadia, the Malegaon Industries & Manufacturers Association (MIMA) has already started working in this direction.
“Construction work of up-to-date factory sheds to install around 324 rapier, shuttle-less and modern imported power looms are about to complete in the MIDC area of Malegaon. Simultaneously, a Common Facility Centre (CFC) with modern sizing and processing unit is about to commence operation nearby”, Nehal Ansari, one of the founder members of Malegaon Industries & Manufacturers Association (MIMA), said.
He said that MIMA is also coordinating with the local Power loom Service Centre (PSC) for the functioning of a readymade garment and embroidery training centre funded by Ministry of Textiles so that a trained workforce is developed for the apparel park which MIMA intends to establish in the city.
“We are working consistently and in the right direction, and are sure that Malegaon will play a major role in the country’s textile sector in coming days”, he said.
[The writer, Aleem Faizee, is Founder Editor of http://ummid.com. The above article is written for Textile Value Chain and published in the magazine's November, 2015 issue.]