Power loom units in Edappadi town of Tamil Nadu’s Salem District downed shutters to protest against the sudden surge in yarn prices, even as power loom owners as well as their marketing agents plan to submit a memorandum to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Edappadi and its surrounding villages such as Velandivalasu, Mettur Stree, Motur and Velanaikenpayalam are traditional powerloom clusters where towels as well as made-ups of various varieties are manufactured and sold in the Erode textile market in addition to all states in India.

An estimated 20,000 units and several allied industries operate in the area, employing more than 30,000 workers. Recently, the price of yarn, which is the main input for the industry, rose steeply disrupting the short term calculations of power loom unit owners. Power owners said that the price of a 5 kg bundle of yarn grade Number 10 has gone up to Rs. 650 from Rs. 480, whereas the price of Number 20 grade yarn has surged to Rs. 950 from Rs. 750.

Prices of other grades of yarn have also seen a similar increase by around 20 per cent to 25 per cent, local industry sources said. Power loom owners and their marketing agents who joined the protest said that if steps were not taken to control the price of yarn, the textile industry, especially the units in the lower end which manufacture low value but high demand items, would be severely affected. They have blamed the Central Government and the Tamil Nadu Government for not doing anything about the frequent fluctuations in the yarn market. The losses which power loom units would incur could put the workers and the entire range of small as well as micro scale ancillary units in jeopardy, they said.

They said that while it is the Central Government which has more control over the affairs of the textile industry, the Tamil Nadu Government could exert pressure on the Union Textile Ministry to intervene in the input markets and the finished goods market as well as incentivise cotton cultivation in order to increase supplies. Incidentally, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s native village of Siluvampalayam happens to be in Edappadi town of Tamil Nadu’s Salem District.