Surat industry in crisis: Shortage of coal, rising costs could force textile units to close for a month

The fuel crisis resulting from the coal shortage has caused the cost of color and chemicals to rise, forcing several factory owners in Surat to suggest that they will keep the dyeing and printing plants closed for the entire period. month of november.

The industry faced a similar slowdown when migrant workers employed in these processing units returned to their home countries during the Covid-19 lockdown last year.

South Gujarat Textile Processing Association (SGTPA) President Jitubhai Vakhariya said, “In a meeting on October 8, the factory owners suggested keeping the factories closed for a month, due to the rising prices for colors, chemicals and charcoal. . Textile traders do not agree to increase the costs of dyeing and printing. We called another meeting on October 20 to discuss the matter and make a decision. “

Weavers sell gray fabrics to textile traders who then send them to factories for dyeing, printing and finishing. The boilers in the dyeing and printing units produce steam using coal, the majority of which is imported.

However, a shortage of charcoal led to a threefold increase in the prices of color chemicals, as a result of which the owners of the textile factories organized a meeting with the SGTPA and demanded to maintain the dyeing and dyeing factories. printing closed for one month from November 1st.

Sanjay Saraogi, owner of Laxmipati Industry Group, said: “Coal imported from Indonesia is mainly used by Surat industry as lignite coal. About two weeks ago, the price of imported coal was Rs 4,000-5,000 per tonne and now it is Rs 14,000 to 15,000 per tonne. Typically around 30-35 tonnes of coal is used in the textile industry per day to generate steam.

“The lignite coal produced in Surat and Bharuch is also used in textile factories, but its efficiency in generating steam is lower and can only be used as a substitute. Even the price of lignite coal, which was available at Rs 5,000 per tonne, has increased to Rs 12,000. Lignite coal is also insufficient and we are going through a difficult period, ”he added.

Noting that industries were also facing a shortage of dyes and chemicals, some of which are imported from China, Saraogi said local traders who stored them raised prices. “For example, the price of Hydro, which was available at Rs 60 per kilogram, has increased to Rs 200, while that of formic acid has gone from Rs 32 per kilo to Rs 150 per kilo. If we increase print rates, we will lose business, ”he said.

Another factory owner, Pramod Chaudhary, said: “If we keep the factories running, we will face huge losses every day. While the majority of factories operate with labor donated by textile traders, a few of them buy gray fabrics from weavers and process them for sale in their own shops or textile markets. If we keep the factories closed, we will have to spend a huge amount of money to restart because the machines get stuck… We also fear that this will force migrant workers to return to their countries of origin.

There are over 350 dyeing and printing factories which house more than five lakhs of migrant workers from states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh .

“This would be the first time that textile factories may have to be closed due to the fuel crisis. We suggest that instead of keeping them closed for a month, they should cut back on production and keep factories closed for two days a week. It would help both owners and workers. There are several workers who work with a daily wage and if the mills remain closed for a month, it would be difficult for them to survive, ”Saraogi added.