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Bhiwandi powerlooms are on strike since Monday demanding control on yarn prices and permission to export cloth. The owners of powerlooms are finding it difficult to run it in profit, because of the rising power tariff, labour charges and dropping prices. The strike has brought half of India’s powerloom sector to a halt. About nine lakh people are dependent on Bhiwandi powerlooms and related business.

A production cutback is likely also at the spinning mills region that have been hit by excess capacity and a fall in demand for yarn from export markets, especially China, the Northern India Textile Mills Association has announced.

In Malegaon, mills started operating at 50 per cent of their capacity in May after the Rajasthan government shut down more than 739 textile processing units in Balotra, and Pali to ensure they treat effluent and check water pollution from chemicals impacting farmlands around the region.

The recession of over one and half years has hit them hard, moreover illegal holding of yarn and its ever increasing prices add to their worries. According to powerloom owner Zahid Nadvi, the industry is virtually in the intensive care unit now. Their entire labour force comes from Malegaon itself, and therefore, they are operating the looms for three to four days a week only to support them.

Malegaon’s powerlooms manufacture the grey cloth which is sent to the processing house in Pali and Balotra in Rajathan where it is turned into finished products.

The shutdown has impacted the grey cloth prices as they cannot send it to Rajasthan. The supply of yarn from Southern States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has also been irregular. So, it is no longer profitable, one of the hundreds of powerloom owners said.


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