Hosiery industry protests rising cotton prices

Kolkata, Nov 21, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): The Federation of Hosiery Manufacturers Association of India (FOHMA) organised a protest here on Friday against the almost doubling of prices of cotton in the past year which they blamed on adverse government policies.

Despite a good enough cotton crop this year the price of cotton has increased from Rs. 23,000 a candy to Rs. 40,000 over the past one year creating a huge difficulty for the industry and the consumers as well, the FOHMA officials said.

The protest took place near the Shobhabazar Post Office here in the morning as speakers spoke about the industry’s troubles and accused the government of turning a blind eye to the situation.

The hosiery manufacturers’ primary gripe is that of allowing unchecked export of cotton which has resulted in India’s closing stock of cotton being at an all time low of 40 lakh bales — 10 lakh bales lower than the government’s own target, a FOHMA release said.

“However despite this the Government has decided to allow exports of raw cotton even before the crop has arrived. Registrations have started and the crop has started moving out of the country from Nov 1, 2010,” it said.

FOHMA president K B Agarwala said that the government is mulling over further increasing the export quota, resulting in a severe fix for the textile industry which is the largest employer in the country.

While farmers continue selling cotton at 50 percent above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) set by the government, prices of basic textile items have gone up by 25 percent over the last one year.

“Many tiny, small and even medium sized units have shutdown their workings – while others are on the brink of closure,” FOHMA said.

The association also accused the government of taking the country “back to the pre-independence era where raw materials were exported and the finished product was imported back into the country”.

They demanded a reduction in incentives on cotton exports and stopping of cotton exports immediately till sufficient buffer stock is created so that “the hosiery Industry is saved from extinction”.

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