Textile mills and construction industry in Coimbatore and nearby districts are the worst hit by the truckers’ strike which entered the third day on Wednesday. “Nearly Rs 200 crore worth textile products from Tirupur, Erode, Chennimalai, Karur, Vellakovil, Somanur, Palladam, Avinashi and Kangeyam are stagnating because of the strike,” said Erode Traders Association president PS Nataraja Mudaliar.
He said, the Erode textile industry alone, which produces A-Z of clothing, namely bed sheet, towel, lungies to kerchiefs is facing severe hardship because of the strike. According to him, atleast Rs 50 crore worth textile goods in Erode are stagnating from Sunday night, when the lorry strike began. Truckers have taken their vehicles off road since Sunday midnight demanding reduction in diesel prices, exemption in service and toll taxes and a single permit for nationwide transportation among others. This has led to stagnating of goods at various places including ports, where the import goods for textile industry are dumped. The daily loss for Tirupur industry is pegged at Rs 40 crore due to lorry strike. A Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA) official said the few lorries that ply carrying textile goods are also attacked and therefore the goods are not moving in and out of Tirupur.
Since the Pongal festival is a peak season for textile sales in domestic market, the Erode textile industry is worried over the lack of goods movement. “With the way things are moving, it would take few days after Pongal for us to come back to normal situation,” said Mr Mudaliar, adding, another two to three days of strike would create havoc in the textile business in the region. The construction activities are also slowly coming down. “Nearly 30% to 35% work has been stopped for want of materials,” said Builders’ Association of Coimbatore chairman, G Srinivasan. He added that most of the building contractors are managing with the buffer stocks and are exhausting them.
According to Mr Srinivasan, if the strike continued for another two days, then there would be mass lay-off of workers in this industry. “There would be Rs 3 to Rs 4 crore loss per day in Coimbatore alone, if the strike continues for another two to three days,” he said. Normally 1,500 lorries ply inside Coimbatore carrying building materials and because of the strike, Rs 2 crore production loss per day is expected for the quarry operators. “There are nearly 700 quarries in Coimbatore district alone and nearly 40,000 labourers are without job now because of the truckers’ strike,” said Tamil Nadu stone quarry crusher & lorry owners’ federation president K Chinnaswamy.