People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXV

No. 16

April  17, 2011

 

TAMILNADU

Tirupur: Campaign

Focusses on Policy Issues

Sindhan Rajamani

TIRUPUR, the well known textile hub of India, has more than 5000 garment manufacturing and job work units in the district. Nearly 5 million people of Tirupur are dependent for livelihood on cloth manufacturing and related industries. In fact, when the textile industry was booming, Tirupur was portrayed as 'Dollar City' and 'Little Japan' by media and neo-liberal cheerleaders. Totally unmindful of the worst infrastructure and living conditions of the majority of the people in the city, they celebrated the booming textile exports and underlined it as achievement of globalisation. Tirupur had earned around Rs 12,000 crore in foreign exchange in one year during that period.

 

Of course, the growth did not continue for long and with the rising cotton prices and growing global economic crisis, Tirupur faced many serious troubles. Just some time before the global financial crisis began, Tirupur garment export business was hit by appreciation of Rupee value against US Dollar. Then they were hit by the global financial crisis. The severe power shortage in the state also hit these already struggling industries and many smaller ones had to shut shop in Tirupur. Thousands of workers lost jobs and are in severe distress. According to Tirupur Exporters Association, more than 20,000 workers lost their jobs in just one year. Most of those employed are actually on contract basis and are easier to get rid of when required. With the UPA-II government deciding to take out cotton from the list of essential commodities, it was open for speculation by the online trading companies. Its price, per candy, consequently went up from Rs 28,400 to Rs 65,000, directly affecting the yarn (the major raw material for garment) price. It jumped from Rs 185 to Rs 282 and is still increasing. As a result of all this, the industry lost around Rs 1500 crore as a result of this.

 

It is in this context that the assembly election campaign in Tirupur is centred around the neo-liberal policies of the central government and the state government. The CPI(M) is contesting from Tirupur South assembly constituency, which has nearly 1.7 lakh voters.  More than half of the population in this part of the city are workers and CPI(M) is intensively campaigning on the policy issues that have resulted in such a dire situation. This constituency is the smallest among the 8 segments of the district.

 

Tirupur, after delimitation has now two constituencies Tirupur North and Tirupur South. In the North seat, the fight is on between DMK and AIADMK while in the South seat, it is between the Congress and CPI(M. Apart from the crisis in textile industry, the CPI(M) is also raising the price rise and 2G spectrum scandal issues in a big way. The Party is also clearly spelling out alternatives for solving these problems. Not only Tirupur, many districts of Tamilnadu are facing severe problems due to the pursuit of these anti-people policies by both the state and central governments. The CPI(M) is confident that the anger among the people will be reflected in their vote against the UPA partners in the April 13 election. CPI(M) candidate in Tirupur South constituency, K Thangavel, said "Tirupur voters now have an opportunity to defeat the DMK-Congress combine and their policies. I am sure they will use this opportunity to teach a lesson to them"