For power loom weavers in Surat, Navapur, a border district in Maharashtra — about 100 km from Surat — has become the preferred destination for setting up weaving units. About 250 powerloom units, owned by Surti weavers, have been established in Navapur’s Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) estate and the nearby Chokhawala compound over the past couple of years.
If the powerloom weavers are to be believed, unlike the Gujarat government, the Maharashtra government has a proactive textile policy which offers substantial benefits to those setting up units there. The benefits includes cheap electricity, at less than Rs 3.5 per unit; 35 per cent subsidy on capital investment on bank loans and 50 per cent on own investment; and low land rates compared to GIDC estates in Gujarat.
A power loom weaver, Anish Bardolia, from Surat has installed about 30 Rapier machines in the 16,000 square feet industrial shed in the Navapur MIDC. Bardolia has a Rapier machine unit in Surat’s Khatodara as well. “The textile policy of the Maharashtra government makes Navapura attractive,” he said. “I am operating the unit in partnership with a local weaver there. The electricity tariff is almost half of what we are charged in Surat.” Bardolia explained that on an average, if a powerloom unit in Navapur consumes 22,000 units per month, the power bill comes to around Rs 77,000. However, if the unit operates in Surat and consumes the same amount of power, the electricity cost would be Rs 1.65 lakh.
According to Bardolia, the land price in Navapur is about Rs 2,700 per square yard compared to Rs 20,000 per square yard at GIDC in Pandesara or Sachin. The Navapur unit manufactures about 7,000 metres of fabric per day. Bardolia has shifted the labour from Surat to Navapur by providing workers with facilities such as lodging and food. The number of weavers who have shifted to Navapur may be small, but the industry leaders believe that the Gujarat government needs to come up with a competitive textile policy on the lines of Maharashtra’s to stem the migration.
A powerloom weaver from Surat, Bharat Patel, who has set up a unit in Navapur, said: “Navapur is about 100km from Surat and we get cheap labour as well as electricity. We got a 35% subsidy on the investment of Rs 3 crore.” Hence, Patel said, he decided to set up a unit there three months ago. Man-made Textile Research Association secretary Dinesh Zaveri said, “The textile policy of the Maharashtra government is very positive compared to Gujarat’s. This is the reason why power loom weavers are shifting to Maharashtra and the Union territory of Silvassa.” Another powerloom unit owner in Surat, Manoj Sethia, is also planning to set up a unit in Navapur. “The textile policy in Maharashtra is industry-friendly. If we are paying Rs 7.30 per unit for electricity in Surat, the Maharashtra government is offering it at half the rate.”