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More textile centres join stir, govt. yet to move
Friday November 15, 2013 11:01 AM, Staff Reporter

Even as the powerloom bandh in Bhiwandi entered its tenth day on Friday and more textile centres of Maharashtra declared to join the stir called against electricity tariff hike, the state government remained dormant and did not show any resolve to address the issue.

Demanding abolition of additional charges, imposed by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) to recover 735 crores of losses the distributors have incurred, over 10 lakh powerlooms of Maharashtra are non-operational threatening the livelihood of about 03 million people.

While Bhiwandi, with an estimated eight lakh powerlooms, began ten-day strike on November 06, other textile centres including Ichalkaranaji and Malegaon joined the stir respectively from November 07 and November 12.

Other textile centres like Dhule and Yeola too announced to remain shutdown in support of the bandh call given by the powerloom associations.

The associations claim that the electricity tariff in Maharashtra is already on higher side if compared with other states. But, the MERC hiked it yet again in September, making the electricity charges unaffordable.

"With this tariff, it's impossible to compete with other states, and sell our produce", Momin Faizan Azmi of Bhiwandi Sangharsh Samiti said while talking to

The worst hit due to the bandh are labourers working in powerloom units. Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam most of them are migrants who have to send money back home for their families. While many of them have returned to their native places after the bandh was announced, those who remained in the city are left with money which is insufficient to provide food to even them.

"We are receiving calls from our families back home. But how can we respond to them when we have left with hardly any money. Because of the uncertainty arising due to the bandh we can't borrow from others", Afroz Ansari, who migrated from Mubarakpur to Bhiwandi for work, said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had on November 11 constituted a committee headed by Industry Minister Narayan Rane, promising a decision after the committee submits its report. Appeals were also made to Narayan Rane to speed up its report. But he is yet to submit his report.

Tired by the state government's lacklustre attitude, the powerloom associations are now planning to intensify their protest. Among other things, the associations are considering to invite people from other trades to join their stir and call for a state-wide shutdown on December 10.

[Photo Caption: Veteran Socialist leader and former minister Nehal Ahmed leading a protest in Malegaon on November 13, 2013]


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