I belong to a small town, which happens to be the largest exporters of knitted garments in India. I was born there, and I have seen people toiling to bring that extra dollars into our country since 1975. Since then Tiruppur has grown from a small town to the largest exporter of T-shirts, vests and briefs. Someone once commented that Tiruppur is the only place in India, where you can never find ‘NO VACANCY’ board outside any unit. There is job for everybody, any time – whether you are educated or not it doesn’t matter really.
My mom stays there, and I visit Tiruppur once in a month. For the last one-year or so –I found funny things happening in Tiruppur. No electricity for 8 hours for 2 days in a week, and every day 3-4 hours current cut without fail. The companies don’t stop functioning, they immediately run their units on generators. It is by the sound of generators we come to know whether the current has come back or not.
The profit margin any small unit takes is about Rs 2 to Rs 3 per T Shirt. Recently the dollar rate fell, and Tiruppur suffered the most. They had to incur Rs 5 loss on per T Shirt. None bothered – neither the people nor the government.
Child labour was banned when the government wanted children to grow up with zero skills, and make them beg for jobs when they are 22-23 years of age. And now this frequent power cuts has only pushed businessmen to make the minimal profits – may be it is the price they are paying to have generated employment for the people.
The plight someone goes into - just to bring profits to the nation and to give employment to her own people - is tumultuous and also torturous. He might as well, close his export unit, and become a corrupt government employee instead – he surely would make more money than that he makes by exporting garments. Many industrialists (including Ratan Tata) feel that – doing business in India is very difficult due to expensive infrastructure. And now people are pushed to do business with zero-infrastructure.
Just yesterday there was a news report that said, even Chennai (one of the metros of India, and the IT hub) will have to face frequent power cuts from now. In fact I am typing this particular blog fast, as my laptop’s battery is getting over, and there is no current at home.
In early 90s one of my friend’s 4-year-old niece - born and brought up in the US visited Kerala. And that was the time when Kerala was under severe load shut down process. The current went off, and the people at home casually said current has gone, and the niece innocently asked – where has the current gone? Everyone burst out laughing, but then they didn’t realize that we are laughing at ourselves.
We cannot blame our population for this power cuts now. Something has seriously gone wrong somewhere – may be they have provided license to too many companies and industries, without understanding the aftermath. Is again corruption the main reason for this particular problem, where in tax paying ‘Aam Janta’ is deprived of this basic necessity called ‘electricity’?