Owing to COVID-19 crisis, every apparel manufacturing hub of India has been facing serious challenges over the last few months. It’s no different for Kolkata, which is also struggling to survive.
As per an industry informed person of this well-known hub, the general market situation has been very bad since 22 March 2020 and hasn’t improved till date.
The hub, overall, is using just 15 per cent of its capacity compared to pre-COVID-19 period. There are around 10,000 units of garment and allied products in the city, producing innerwear, kidswear, wide range of knitted products as well as workwear.
Exporters as well as companies producing for domestic market have been equally impacted.
Around 50 per cent of the small factories are closed till date, while the remaining 50 per cent are operational only with 50 per cent capacity. As far as big and organised factories are concerned, majority of them are working but with 30 per cent of average capacity.
Even among the units that are working, around 50 per cent are producing masks, instead of their regular products like kidswear and knitted garment, etc.
What’s notable is that the less production of garments has had negative impact on the sale of sewing machines also, as the sale is just 25 to 30 per cent, compared to pre-pandemic days.
Sunny Sales is a well-known sewing machine supplier company of Kolkata, whose turnover has remained 20 per cent in last 4 months compared to what it was during the same period last year.
Sanjay Mehta, Director of the company, told Apparel Resources, “Nobody is in a situation to do capital investment, and so sale of new sewing machines is badly impacted. We just did 20 per cent of business in recent months and that too of mask-making machines.”
Though some of the companies have orders, they are facing labour shortage as public transport has not started so far, and there is no way for majority of the workers to reach factories.
The only positive sign for the city is the good demand for leather gloves from many countries. This particular product category had done well comparatively in recent months.