Tirupur: Knitwear exporters and garment manufacturers have expressed concerns in the wake of two startling burglaries at garment units in Tirupur last month. About Rs 1.4 crore in cash was stolen from a garment-manufacturing unit three weeks ago. Later, the police arrested a former employee of the company after identifying him on CCTV footage.
The police also recovered the cash, which was shared among his aides. The man had entered the unit during the Diwali holidays and stole cash from the locker, as he already well versed with the layout of the premises. Meanwhile, burglars struck at a garment unit at Pooluvapatti last Friday and Rs 8 lakh in cash was stolen. Reacting to these incidents, industrialists have urged the city police to take stringent security measures to put an end to them.
Tirupur Exporters And Manufacturers Association president M.P. Muthu Rathinam said that the increasing trend of burglars targeting garment units has created a pervasive sense of fear. “We are now scared of keeping money at the units,” he said. The banks declare holiday on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month. As the garment units disburse wages every Saturday, a huge amount of money has to be drawn every week. Due to holiday on Saturdays, employers withdraw money from the bank on Friday and keep it in the unit to settle wages the next day, and that’s when the burglars strike, say the garment unit owners.
Home to a significant population of migrant workers from across the country, the knitwear hub is a safe haven for burglars and ex-convicts. “The industries and police should jointly tackle the emerging threat from criminals. Sharing details of ex-convicts with the industry and pasting their photos in all the security offices of garment units will help to identify them,” said Mr Rathinam.
A garment owner admitted that the working system in Tirupur has several security loopholes, which burglars take advantage of. As workers keep changing jobs, it is for criminals to walk in as workers, rob and flee. Many companies are encouraging the system of engaging contractors, in which the workers do not have a direct relationship with the company. “It becomes an advantage for the criminals,” he says.
The Tirupur police has repeatedly asked company owners to verify the identity and address of all the workers before employing them. The companies have also been asked to fix CCTV cameras on their premises. “However, a majority of the companies are yet to follow the instructions. The fixing of CCTVs on the main premises of the company is also necessary for identifying burglars,” said a senior police officer.
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