The Maharashtra state textile minister Arif Naseem Khan has written to minister for industries Narayan Rane urging that power rates must be reduced in light of wake of strike in the powerloom sector against the hike in power rates. Rane is the head of the review committee formed by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to examine whether power rates for powerloom sector could be reduced.
Electricity tariff for powerlooms were raised by 80 paisa to Rs 1 per unit, owing to which powerloom owners of Bhiwandi are on strike since 6 November. Powerloom owners of Malegaon and Ichalkaranji, in support, also went on strike in the following day.
Khan opined that concession in power rates in essential for the survival of the powerloom industry. He also sought similar concession for spinning mills on the lines that this would help in the development of the cotton processing industry in the state.
In his letter, the textile minister stated that the powerloom industry is job-generator and about 2.80 million weavers are employed in the sector. It is also the most unorganised sector that requires promotion. Significantly, there are a total 1.20 milion powerlooms operating across the country, of which, Maharashtra alone has more than 7 lakh powerlooms, producing about 17,000 million metre of cloth a year.
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