TIRUPUR: Saddled with huge inventories running to thousands of crores in Rupee terms and amid anxiety not to lose existing orders, exporting garment and knitwear units in Tirupur hosiery hub have been asked to come out with a phased resumption plan keeping health protocols in mind in the wake of the extension of the national lockdown till May 3 to curb Covid-19 spread.
The Tirupur Exporters Association (TEA) led by its president Mr. Raja Shanmugam and others, who held a meeting on issues concerning their industry with the Tirupur Collector, Dr K Vijayakarthikeyan here, had broached the issue of allowing at least ten per cent of the exporting units with orders on hand to recommence productions to help cut losses.
"I have asked them (TEA) to come out with a plan that can be rolled out step-by-step, even as we have to take simultaneous health protocol steps with regard to the large number of migrant workers from other States working in Tirupur and who have been stranded here," Dr Vijayakarthikeyan told DC over telephone on Tuesday evening.
On the one hand, the district administration wants to ensure that workers returning back to work do not contribute to the spread of the virus even unwittingly when the garment units start functioning again.
On the other hand, the migrant workers will have to be linked to the health protocols in terms of regular screening for the coronavirus symptoms, testing and treatment wherever necessary as part of the Covid-19 control follow-up measures. The migrant workers also need to be linked to the control room.
Keeping all these public health protocols in mind, Dr Vijayakarthikeyan said the TEA has been urged to chalk out a workable plan of action that could be rolled out in phases for smooth resumption of Tirupur's wheels of economy. Their proposal would be sent to the Government and after its approval, the road-map would become clear, the collector said.
As this process would take another couple of weeks at least, a TEA spokesman said it would likely co-terminate with the May 3 deadline of the second phase of the national lockout announced by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi earlier in the day.
Significantly, few units in Tirupur have been given the go-ahead to diversify into making medical protective equipment like facial masks, personal protective equipment (PPE) and so on, strictly enforcing the social distance and other norms. These are badly needed to fight Covid-19 virus.
Mr. K V Srinivasan, Chairman of The Cotton Textiles Export Promotion Council (Texprocil), said "exporters have closed down their production facilities due to lockdown on account of Covid-19. Overseas buyers are cancelling orders on a large scale and even payments are not being released by the buyers to the exporters on shipments already made."
Many exporters were facing huge losses as they entered into forward contracts, he said and urged banks should not charge penalty for "cancellation or rollover of forward contacts", and government should release all pending claims under various schemes for textile industry....