The manufacturers of garment machinery in the city are losing out to better quality and cost-effective machinery imported from South-east Asian and European countries.
Once the backbone of the local garments and knitwear industry, garment machinery manufactures are finding it hard to continue. They also blame the government for not providing enough support to them to upgrade technology.
President of the Garments Machinery Manufacturers' and Suppliers' Association, Ram Krishan, said: “There was a time when business was booming. But for some years, the industry has been facing tough times. The local garments industry now prefers machines imported from countries like China, Taiwan, Germany and Japan.”
The imported machines are much better in quality and also increase production manifold. “Machines imported from China are cost effective and give an advantage to the garments manufacturing industry,” he added.
The state of affairs can be gauged from the fact at a point of time there were about 100 garments manufacturers who used circular-knitting machines manufactured by the local industry. “But now only 4 or 5 units use the local machinery. Others have installed imported machines,” he said. “While local machines produce 30-kg product in a day, imported machines produce 300-kg product in a day,” he said.
Gurdev Singh, the owner of Alex International, a garment machinery manufacturing unit in the city, said the state government had not offered any help to reverse this trend. “The lack of technological improvement can be understood from the situation that many machinery manufacturers have become suppliers and import machinery and then sell it,” he said.
“While the Centre has been promoting technological advancement in the textile sector by providing the industry help under the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme, the state government is not willing to the same. It categorises us in the engineering industry,” he said.
For upgrading technology, an industry requires crores of rupees. “But no one single industry is in the position to do that,” he said.
To improve the situation, the association had recently opted for a development programme of the central government for setting up a common facility centre for upgrading technology. “But it has been more than a year since we applied for enrolment in the programme, but things are moving at a snail's pace,” said another manufacturer.
At present, 58 industries are members of the association, though the actual number of manufacturers in the city is around 100.