Jobless Due To GST, 40,000 Odia Workers In Surat Write To Odisha CM Asking For Help

The Logical Indian Crew Gujarat

July 19th, 2018 / 5:38 PM

Power loom workers

Image Credits: The Indian Express

Federation of Gujarat Weavers Association (FOGWA) and its subsidiary Pandesara Weavers Association from Surat have written a letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik claiming that the Surat textile industry has not stabilized even after a year of the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST). Majority of the workers who have been rendered jobless are from Odisha.

The power loom workers from different parts of the city have written separate letters to the CM. Over 7 lakh are from Odisha with workers from Berhampur accounting for almost 90% of the workforce. The letter stated that 40,000 Odisha workers are jobless because of GST.

According to a FOGWA report, post-GST over 1 lakh power loom machines were scrapped and 6,000 power loom factories were shut down, while over 4 lakh power loom workers have become jobless, reported The Indian Express.  Not only this, the production capacity of the powerlooms have also come down by 50%. Import of material has increased due to the high GST rates.


Migrant workers

Over 5 lakh workers from Odisha work in the power loom industry with an average wage of Rs 18,000. Over 3 lakh female workers do value-added jobs such as stitching, purring mirrors in sarees etc.

Workers in a power loom industry are trained on the job and can handle types of equipment like the rapier, waterjet and airjet loom. Such on the job training helps the government save a lot of money. Migrants from especially rural Odisha come to work in the power loom sector. With the condition of the power loom industry in Surat, most of these workers are jobless and they are looking for an alternative livelihood.

Talking to The Times of India, president of the Pandesara Weavers Cooperative Society Ashish Gujarati said, “There are about 1.27 lakh power loom machines in Pandesara Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation(GIDC) employing over 70,000 workers, the majority of them from Odisha. In the last one year, about 40,000 workers have been rendered jobless from the entire power loom sector.”

Gujarati further added, “We have sought the support of Odisha CM to intervene in the matter for the discriminatory GST policy and save the power loom sector as well as workers losing their jobs. Over 1 lakh power looms have been sold in scrap in the last one year.”

President of Federation of Gujarat Weavers Association (FOGWA) Ashok Jirawala said, “We have urged Odisha CM to take up the GST issue with the PMO and the GST Council. The power loom sector has a single point demand for refund of accumulated input tax credit (ITC). The refund of ITC will restore neutrality for the man-made fabric industry and save lakhs of jobs.”

Surat accounts for 60% of total synthetic textile produced in India. It produces 1,300 crore meter of cloth and an annual turnover of Rs 50,000 crore. Over 18 lakh people associated with this industry. The industry is struggling with issues related to GST.


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Written by : Poorbita Bagchi

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