COIMBATORE: A total of Rs 35 crore worth production of weaving has been hit per day in Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts, following the job working power loom weavers’ strike against the electricity tariff hike. Over 1.75 lakh power loom units in the two districts stayed silent for the third day on Sunday.
C Palanisamy, president of the job working power loom unit weavers in Coimbatore and Tiruppur, said, “Over one crore meter length of weaving has been hit in the strike and Rs 35 crore worth of production has been hit per day in both the districts due to the strike.”
“Over 1.75 power looms, operated by 40,000 weavers, caters direct employment to two lakh workers and indirectly to three lakh workers in Somanur and Palladam areas in both the districts. The wages should be revised once in three years. But, it has not been revised by master weavers since 2014. Meanwhile, over 70% power loom units stopped their production for the last few months due to hike in yarn price. Adding fuel into fire, the department has also increased electricity price.”
He added that due to the suspension of operation, the workers will not get anything as they do not know other work. P Shankar, a power loom worker from Pallapalayam in Tiruppur district said, “Demanding wage hike, weavers went on strike for two months from January this year. The strike was called off on March 9 after talks. In the two months, we have no job. Since May, there is no regular work due to increase of cotton and yarn prices. Meanwhile, this strike against EB tariff hike started. We are struggling to survive.”
E Boopathi, a weaver from Somanur said, “I have two power loom centers, where 20 power loom units are functioning in Somanur. After the hike in yarn prices, all my power loom units were not functioning properly for the past four months. The increase in electricity tariff has added to our woes. The new tariff will be a burden on power loom weavers as they will have to shell out an additional Rs 8,000 - 9,000 per month.”
“Tariff has been increased to Rs 2.3 to Rs 3 per unit from 750 units to 1,000 units. Similarly, from 1,001 to 1,500 units, the tariff has been increased to Rs 4.30 from Rs 3.45 per units. After 1,500 units, the tariff has been increased to Rs 6 from Rs 4.3 per unit,” he added.
A Shanmugasundaram, a power loom weaver from Kadampadi Village in Sulur Taluk said, “Apart from the tariff, we have to pay Rs 2,000 as fixed charge, if we use more than 750 units. During the election campaign, CM MK Stalin had assured that electricity billing would be calculated once in a month instead of once in two months. If the government implements it, we can manage the present hike.”