PERUMBAVOOR: Perumbavoor, the hub of plywood and wood industries in the state, is facing a severe shortage of raw materials following the flood. Though this year’s deluge did not affect the town as it did last year, the plywood production has been hit badly since the rain intensified. Sawmill Owners and Plywood Manufacturers Association (SOPMA) president M M Mujeeb Rahman said the plywood production has come down by over 60 per cent since the rain started.
“Plywood factories at Vallam near Perumbavoor were shut down following the flood. However, a major crisis is the non-availability of raw materials. The supply of rubberwood from the high ranges has been reduced after the road connectivity to Kannur, Idukki, Wayanad, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta got disrupted,” he said. Last year’s flood destroyed 70 plywood factories and partially damaged 30 others. They were on the revival path when the monsoon hit them hard.
Meeran Kunju, the owner of Chaithanya Plywood at Kandathara in Perumbavoor, said since the rain intensified it’s been difficult to get even one truck of raw wood for plywood production. Meeran said he lost over `1 crore in the last year’s flood and had to pledge gold and sell off land to stay afloat. There are around 400 plywood factories in Perumbavoor employing over 1 lakh workers mostly from West Bengal and Assam. Besides, several furniture industries also operate at Perumbavoor and nearby places.
Even before the rain, the revival was halted mid-way by the severe staff shortage after the Union government intensified efforts to finish the National Citizenship Register (NCR) in Assam. This forced sever workers to return home in a huff.
“A majority of the workers here belong to the Muslim community from West Bengal and Assam. Due to NCR issues, a majority of the workers had gone back home. ‘They returned only a month back. But with the reduction in production, the workers have started going to other states to find job,” said Mujeeb Rahman.