The textile industry in Surat is facing hard times due to the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and in a verge of huge losses.

Jitubhai Vakharia, President, South Gujarat Textile Processors’ Association said that an estimated loss of Rs. 1,000 crore may be incurred if the lockdown is extended. “Close to Rs 800-1,000 crore loss could be incurred by the textile industry itself as the lockdown is expected to be extended,” said Vakharia while speaking to ANI.

With regard to the situation of the workers he said, “The craftsmen are anxious, so we decided to provide ration after every fortnight to ensure that they do not go hungry.” He added: “If the workers wanted to go back to their native villages, we gave them Rs 1,000 to assist them as well. With help from the Pandesara Police, we have been able to send back quite a few workers by train and bus.”

But he said that more needs to be done.

“The arrangements made to send workers back to their states are not enough. Even if we keep going at this rate, it will take close to a month to do so,” he said. Meanwhile, the Railways have partially resumed passenger train services after over one and a half months. “We wholeheartedly welcome this decision taken by the central government,” Vakharia said. To help the resumption of economic activities, he said that the government must provide the textile industry “soft loans”. “Whatever money the government gives us, it must be considered as a soft loan at an interest of 2-3 per cent and we will pay the government back in a few years. Once we get the money, we can resume our business,” he added.