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Dying Textile Industry:

Govt. refusing to lend a helping hand despite repeated pleas

Monday, June 22, 2009 01:34:16 PM, Aleem Faizee


 Textile Commissioner J. N. Singh with a Malegaon delegation (File Photo)

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Malegaon: In December 2006 a local delegation was in New Delhi on renowned activist Teesta Setalvad’s invitation. She had organized a grand meeting in the Capital for the people affected by atrocities, riots and terrorist attacks that were occurring in the country on a regular interval. Besides various others, affected people came from Bangalore, Gujarat and Khairlanji. The Malegaonians at that time were fighting for a CBI probe into the 2006 Terrorist Attack that had killed more than thirty people, all of them being the Muslims praying in the mosque. The delegation was in New Delhi to garner support for their popular demand.


On the sidelines of this all important meeting, Sushobha Barve, another activist suggested to the Malegaon delegation to have a meeting with the officers at The Planning Commission for the industrial revival of the city. Planning Commission member Dr. Syeda Hameed, who during her visit to Malegaon on October 10, 2006 had personal experience of the things that are deliberately or otherwise messed up in the city, was not in the Capital. However, Ramesh Jamthani, then Industrial Advisor to the Planning Commission conducted the meeting in her absence.


As the events that unfolded later on, the meeting revived a glimmer of hope among the Malegaonians that escalated even further after few more rounds of meetings at the Planning Commission that followed in quick succession with secretary level officers. The meetings had in store for the Malegaonians more than their expectations. Important decisions were taken courtesy the personal attention taken by Dr. Syeda Hameed and her staff. However, as it normally happens in Malegaon, when these decisions came for actual implementation, they were either blatantly ignored or were molded in a way that could result in as little advantage to the town as would have been possible.


What transpired at the Planning Commission

The first question that came to discussion in the first meeting with the Planning Commission was why despite so many schemes announced by the Government, the people in Malegaon have failed in keeping the pace with their counterparts at other textile centers. “The people of Malgeaon are religious in nature and since the government schemes that facilitate subsidies and other benefits are routed through banks working on Interest, the industrialists in Malegaon could not avail any advantage of the schemes that had benefited other textile centers like Ichalkirnji to a great scale”, Ayyub Qasmi of Association of Powerloom Modernization (APM) had reasoned.


The Commission was amazed. “This is the first time anyone is telling us of your problems in a clear terms, Ramesh Jamthani had reacted”, Ayyub Qasmi recalled.


It was also brought to the Planning Commission’s notice that Government of Maharashtra favored all the leading textile centers of the state barring Malegaon and Bhiwandi - the two prominent textile towns having a sizeable number of Muslim populations, with a D+ status. The D+ status for an industrial area meant enjoying the maximum benefits and 35% subsidy that when added with the 20% Central Government subsidy amounted to a total of 55% on purchasing the modern and other machineries. The Commission was shocked again. Was it a step motherly attitude of the state government towards Malegaon and Bhiwandi? The commission was in a dilemma.


A series of meetings were held in quick succession to find a way-out. The first thing decided in these meetings was, Malegaon should have an industrial area developed by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) for which the land was already reserved since twenty years. Second, like other textile centers, Malegaon should also be given the D+ status to avail the benefits and subsidies. Third, the 55% subsidy on the purchase of new powerlooms that was linked to the bank loan should be delinked so as to facilitate modernization of the dying textile industry in Malegaon.


MIDC D+ for Malegaon minus subsidies

After years of struggle and a series of communiqué from the Planning Commission, Government of Maharashtra on April 01, 2007 finally declared Malegaon as an Industrial Area with D+ status. However, before declaring so in its industrial policy that came into force the same day scrapped the 35% subsidy, the main clause in the D+ status.


“Though the government is portraying its decision to declare Malegaon as an Industrial area with D+ status a great favor extended to the city, without the benefits and subsidies enjoyed by other textile centers it is totally meaningless”, says Khurshid Ansari - President of the Association of Powerloom Modernization (APM) before adding, “There is in fact nothing for the textile industry specially the weavers in the new industrial policy.”


For the Industrial Area developed by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), it took another year of painstaking efforts and lobbying before they actually got the nod from the State Government for the development of the coveted land in Malegaon.


“Had it not been a timely intervention by the Industry Secretary Aziz Khan and personal efforts taken by the erstwhile District Collector S Chockalingam, the Industrial Area by MIDC that eluded us for many years in the past could have gone into the backburner once again”, says Khurshid Ansari.


Collector S Chockalingam had promised in August 2008 to present MIDC as an Eid gift to the Malegaonians that was expected to fall on October 2, 2008. However, just few days before this deadline, Malegaon on September 29, 2008 was attacked by the terrorists once again. The Malegaonians were waiting for MIDC. Instead they were presented with a deadly attack by the terrorists. Everyone was shattered except perhaps S Chockalingam. He kept his promise by announcing on October 1, 2008 that MIDC for Malegaon is a reality now.


A relief for the Malegaonians indeed! But their demand to de-link the subsidy, 20% from the Central Government now as the State Government is refusing to extend 35% subsidy to Malegaon even for a limited period, from the bank loan according to the sources in the Textile Commissioner office is gathering the dust with the Finance Ministry in New Delhi. Whether a decision on this issue pending since2006 is part of the Prime Minister’s 100-day plan is not known to the Malegaonians as of now. Till then like other subsidies even this 20% subsidy would not make any sense to the weavers in Malegaon, badly affected by the financial crisis at this juncture.




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Malegaon has very complicated issues. Needs whole-hearted efforts from all.

S Chockalingam (IAS)

Former Collector Dist Nashik

now Additional Commissioner, Sales Tax (Maharashtra)


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