Tamil Nadu: Costly yarn drives loom workers to garment units
Ninety per cent of the over 2.5 lakh job workers in the power loom sector are staring at a bleak Deepavali this year as the master weavers have not placed orders citing high yarn price.
Published: 12th October 2022 02:12 AM | Last Updated: 12th October 2022 02:12 AM | A+A A-
COIMBATORE: Ninety per cent of the over 2.5 lakh job workers in the power loom sector are staring at a bleak Deepavali this year as the master weavers have not placed orders citing high yarn price. With livelihood at stake, workers have started to migrate to the garment-making units in Tiruppur.
Of the total of 2.5 lakh power looms in Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts, only around 25,000 units are in operation. The sector employs two lakh workers directly and four lakh workers indirectly. With looms remaining idle, owners say they are not in a position to give festival bonus to workers.
“Normally workers in power loom sector will be offered 10-12% as bonus during Deepavali. For the last four months, all my 24 power looms are inoperative as there is no wrap yarn supply from master weavers due to increase of cotton price. Only five persons are working in my unit, but I am unable to give them bonus. Not just the workers, even we are struggling to meet our daily needs,” said P Gopalakrishnan, a power loom weaver from Pallapalayam in Coimbatore.
“On average, we would weave 40 metres in a power loom a day. This year we could operate the power loom for less than three months since January. Since we cannot pay labourers, women workers are migrating to garment units in Tiruppur where they earn Rs 250 per shift as helpers,” he added. He said around 1,500 power looms in the village are inoperative.
K Pandiyan of Sankarankovil, who works in a loom in Somanur said, “I usually get around Rs 15,000 as bonus, but was told there would be no bonus this Deepavali. I have sent my wife to Tiruppur to work in a garment unit as we have no orders here. My wife earns Rs 200 per day in the packing section.”
E Boopathi, treasurer of the job working power loom unit weavers association in Coimbatore and Tirupur said, “Price rise of cotton is the reason for our plight. In July, the price of cotton went up to Rs 1.10 lakh per candy. Though it has now come down to Rs 65,000 - 70,000 per candy, master weavers find the price prohibitive and have not placed orders.
Over 90% out of 2.5 lakh power looms in Coimbatore and Tirupur district have not been in operation regularly for the last four months. It has resulted in workers shifting to garment sector. The central government must intervene immediately and regulate cotton price. The State government must also reconsider the hike in power tariff.”