Rising Covid cases latest blow for Tiruppur’s garment manufacturers

“Several top brands and showrooms have been shut in Europe due to Covid, so they can’t even accommodate our old orders that have been exported.

Published: 08th April 2021 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th April 2021 11:28 AM   |  A+A-

Labourers at work at a garments unit in Tirupur of Tamil Nadu. (Photo | Deepak Sathish/EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Already struggling to stay afloat due to the soaring prices of cotton yarn and a drop in export orders, Tiruppur’s garment manufacturers are worried as the second wave of the pandemic could further worsen production at their units.

“Several top brands and showrooms have been shut in Europe due to Covid, so they can’t even accommodate our old orders that have been exported. This has caused a reduction in the number of new orders,” explained Tiruppur Exporters Association president Raja M Shanmugam.

Besides, the high cost of yarn doesn’t let them sell their products at the prices fixed by European traders, he added.

Known as the knitwear hub of the country, Tiruppur houses over 9,000 units and employs over 5 lakh labourers.

Recently, a manufacturing unit in the region was sealed for two days after 31 workers tested positive for coronavirus.

Taking note of the situation, senior State government officials convened a virtual meeting with exporters and manufacturers of Tiruppur on Wednesday, and advised them to be proactive about restricting the spread of the virus.

Besides enforcing strict adherence to SOPs, industry players were told to encourage eligible staff to get vaccinated.

“The cost of yarn has increased by almost 40 per cent in the last six months. So we can’t deliver export and domestic orders, and are suffering huge losses. And now, the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases has added to our woes,” said S Jayakumar, a manufacturing unit owner in Tiruppur.

He added that not many units have facilities to house workers, and hence, it is difficult to keep a tab on their health.

“Many patients are asymptomatic, so it is difficult to trace them,” said Vijay K, another trader. 

“Being a labour-intensive industry, our well-being depends on our workers. We are maintaining physical distance at the factory and are conducting vaccine-awareness drives,” said Shanmugham.

Tiruppur exports garments worth about Rs 2,500 crore every month, and the size of its domestic market is also about the same. The industry does business of over Rs 55,000 crore annually.

(With inputs from Tiruppur)

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