Malegaon: Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s announcement that the
state will be ‘load shedding free’ by the end of 2012 may appear
as a new-year gift for people and industrialists. But, howsoever
surprising it may sound, it has made the powerloom weavers in
“It may appear bizarre. But the power cuts that started in 2004-05
though adversely affected the country’s potential for economic
growth, were blessing in disguise for the textile industry in
Malegaon”, Vipul Shah, Vice President of Malegaon Industries &
Manufacturers Association (MIMA) observed.
Justifying his observation, he said that production control had
always been a major problem for the local textile industry. Even
under sluggish market conditions, the weavers instead of cutting
down duties would prefer running powerloom units for full 24
“It was literally against the business principle, and on expected
lines, resulted in imbalance supply and demand ratio. But for the
reasons best known to them, the weavers in Malegaon were doing it
even if it would mean selling the fabrics on less than the actual
cost price”, he said.
There are others who opined that the powerloom weavers were so
short of the running capital that they could not afford to cut
“When market is in red, we definitely incur huge losses. But
cutting duties to control production and hence the losses have
never been an option in our minds. For, we run our business with
minimal funds and any reduction in duty hours would mean
disturbing the entire business cycle and inviting total collapse”,
Ghulam Jaffer, a weaver, said.
When they were imposed, the prolonged power cuts - a curse for
ordinary people and other industries, resulted in a massive drop
in daily production consequently turning the market bullish and
giving the powerloom weavers extra margins in terms of profit.
“It is a typical situation. What the powerloom weavers could not
do on their own became possible due to the power cuts”, Ganesh R
Sali of the government owned local Powerloom Service Centre (PSC)
As profit increased and huge money started flowing, number of
powerlooms which was around 1, 50,000 in 2006 rose to almost
double in 2011, according to the estimate available with the
Powerloom Service Centre PSC). An industry insider said that
though the increasing number of powerlooms has again compromised
with the production, but the weavers are happy as along as the
electricity load shedding continues.
“This is the reason why opposition to power cuts have never been
so pressing in Malegaon. Any attempt to demand uninterrupted power
supply by people from other industries and business has also
failed due to the same reason”, he said.
In fact, Rashid Tahir Momin, Samajwadi Party MLA of Bhiwandi, who
was recently in Malegaon to address a rally against the
electricity load shedding, surprised the organisers by supporting
“Because of the recession in the textile industry, we
are demanding from Torrent Company to re-start the load shedding
in Bhiwandi”, he said while addressing the rally even as the
organisers watched with dismay.
Amid this tug-of-war which the critics say is marred by politics
and influenced by personal goals, the worst affected lot besides
industries other than the textiles are the students and common men
who moan, none is on their sides.
“The prolonged load shedding has virtually collapsed the
Information Technology and computer education in almost every
school and college in the minority concentrated areas”, Prof Razee
Anwer, HoD at JAT College’s B.Sc. (Computer Science) section said.
Even the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL)
is not worried about the people other than the textile industry
who are affected by the load shedding. While it is enjoying the
struggle of one-up-man-ship played between the industrialists, it
advises educational institutions to try some other means to get
“They should use inverters and battery backup for their computer
labs”, said Dy Executive Engineer YN Phirke.