Three of Mumbai’s textile mills are set to reopen on Tuesday, nearly three decades after the strike of 1982 crippled 58 of them throwing more than 2.5 lakh people out of jobs.
The National Textile Corporation (NTC) has spent Rs 130 crore on modernising the three mills — Tata Mills (Hindmata), India United Mills No.5 (Kalachowkie) and Podar Mills (Chinchpokli) — which will employ 2,387 people, a mix of old mill hands and new recruits. The NTC says it has trained them to handle the new machines imported from the US, Russia and Germany.
The NTC had 25 mills in the city. It sold off five and started joint ventures with the private sector to revive four mills. Thirteen mills remain closed.
The stand-off over wages between mill owners and workers led by the late Datta Samant wiped out the industry once synonymous with Mumbai. The private mills have sold their land to realtors and skyscrapers and malls now dominate what used to be the mill district.
Even the trade unions have welcomed the NTC’s move. “They should be managed efficiently or else the whole efforts will come to naught,” said Datta Ishwalkar, president of Girni Kamgar Sangharsh Samitee, which works for the displaced mill workers.