Begin typing your search...
Sivakasi printing units suffer virus attack
With the lockdown ostensibly in effect, several manufacturing industries in the southern region of Tamil Nadu have been grappling with a bad economy. Print and its allied industries in Sivakasi, known as ‘Mini Japan’, in Virudhunagar district, are no exception.
After a gap of the 21-day lockdown, some textbook printing units have gradually started operations with a nod from the authorities. Earlier, the State government released orders for a batch of 30 printers for printing textbooks for students of schools, many stakeholders relying on this industry feel.
C Dinesh Kumar, Sivakasi Sub-Collector, when contacted, said according priority, permissions have been granted only for printing books meant for the Tamil Nadu Textbook Corporation and also for printing labels and pouches for essential supplies, including food and medicine.Each of the permitted units could have a maximum of 10 workers, he said.
V Ganesh Kumar, president, Sivakasi Master Printers Association, said though the industry, which comes under the MSME sector, is mostly mechanised, human labour is still necessary for production. Normally, a minimum of 25 workers would be engaged in the process of cutting papers, printing, folding, sewing and finish it with perfect binding in a unit. With the curtailed workforce, tasks assigned for executing could be tough. However, with the available workforce, the stakeholders would manage to operate and cater to their requirements, he told DT Next.
Sources from the textbook printing industry said considering the safety of workers, production would go on for about six to seven hours until 1 pm. Only workers living in the proximity of work location had been taking up the job. Since the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation has urged the need for printing, the printers took up the task. Several finished textbooks for classes up to Class 12 ordered in the first batch could not be transported owing to curfew restrictions.
Initially, the government placed orders in January this year for textbooks and manufacturers had printed the entire volumes. But, the next batch of order for textbooks released in March could not be executed owing to curfew restrictions, sources said.
S Balakrishnan, president, Sivakasi Paper Merchants Association, said the printed textbooks would be despatched to schools across State normally in the middle of May.
But this time, it would take one more month to despatch textbooks and there’s uncertainty over reopening of schools. He also added that still many units were not in receipt of raw materials from the TNPL owing to lack of transportation.
According to J James Selvaraj, as there’s a long halt in operations of automated printing machines since March 23, operational maintenance is essentially required at regular intervals to avoid any flaw in machinery.
Since some of them were battery-operated machines, it need to be operated for some time to keep any chance of erasing programme formulation at bay. Further, he said permission from the Sub-Collector has been sought for resumption of printing works with 50 per cent of the workforce.