The government is planning textile or apparel parks at different places in the State but for some inexplicable reason, ignores the existing Sircilla powerloom units in Karimnagar district.
There is no exemption from power bills and with the imposition of Fuel Surcharges Adjustment (FSA), the power burden has doubled for Sircilla weavers. If the same situation continues, they may be pushed into a serious crisis once again.
Sircilla, often referred to as the next Bhiwandi, which is famous for its textile industry, has nearly 36,000 families dependent on textile-related industries. Due to FSA, about 2,000 units are facing closure. Nearly each unit spends `30,000-70,000 on power bills alone!
About 1,000 powerloom units were shut down in the recent past after the Sircilla Electric Supply Society (SESS) cut power supply. It was restored later on a temporary basis but the damage had been done by then.
“We have to sell our powerloom units to pay outstanding electricity bills,” lamented Sircilla powerlooms industry welfare society president Konda Pratap. Vemula Rajeham, a powerloom unit owner, said that to prevent suicides of weavers, the government had ensured 50 percent subsidy on electricity bills. “But the happiness proved shortlived as the FSA burden dampened our spirits. There is no meaning in government claiming credit for giving power subsidy,” he said.
Sircilla powerloom units owners and workers met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Union ministers concerned. But, no positive response has come yet. “We are planning to launch a massive agitations against FSA. It is a life and death question for our 36,000 families,” the weavers said.
Meanwhile, Textiles department assistant director N Venkateshwar Rao said the FSA issue had been pending with the government. He said that they were providing various welfare schemes like Anna Anthyodaya ration cards, ex-gratia to deceased family members, house sites and free self-employment training to the power loom weavers. In addition, a counselling centre was also being run, he explained.