Faced with the high cost of raw cotton and yarn and government apathy, around 10,000 mills and garment companies around the country are going on a one-day strike, on Friday to attract attention to the state of affairs in the sector.
The strike that has been called under the aegis of Apparel Exporters Promotion Council and is expected to generate a loss of Rs 1,000 crore. The industry has been reeling under a steep hike in prices of raw cotton and yarn alongwith a lack of definite policy on export of the commodity. The industry is now demanding that exports be banned entirely to ensure availability in the domestic market.
"The future of the whole Indian apparel industry is at stake and as an immediate step, we seek rationalisation of cotton yarn prices through calibrated exports and other measures," said Premal Udani, chairman, AEPC. "Exports should be limited to surplus, and there should be a ban cotton yarn export till the yarn supply is restored back to normalcy."
Cotton yarn prices, which were ruling at Rs 185 a kg in August 2010 have now touched an all time high of over Rs 240 a kg - an increase of Rs 55 per kg in a short span of two months.
Not everybody in the country is part of the strike though, and the big established apparel manufacturers were not even aware of it. The problem though, has affected them as well.
"Forget participating, we have not even heard about such a strike," said Ashesh Amin, director, apparel and retail, S Kumars Nationwide Ltd. "The raw material front is tough and it has impacted our deliveries."