Police verification drive irks apparel units in Gurgaon

Security verification of migrant workers by the Gurgaon Police ahead of the Commonwealth Games has "disrupted" operations at apparel manufacturing units across the city, according to exporters.

Gurgaon: Security verification of migrant
workers by the Gurgaon Police ahead of the Commonwealth Games
has "disrupted" operations at apparel manufacturing units
across the city, according to exporters.

"About 30-40 per cent absenteeism has been witnessed in
factories in the last 10 days," Apparel Export Promotion
Council (AEPC) Chairman Premal Udani said.

About 3.5 lakh workers are employed in about 700 apparel
manufacturing units in Gurgaon and Manesar, of whom about one
lakh workers have left the city because of the police drive,
AEPC (Northern Region) Vice-Chairman H K L Magu said.

He said the workers` absence will impact production to
the extent of 40 per cent, forcing cancellation of orders by
the factories.

Gurgaon Police Commissioner S S Deswal dismissed the
claims of about one lakh workers leaving the city. "Only a few
hundreds would have left. Generally, the labourers go to their
native place around this time of the year for festivals like
Durga Puja... These claims are exaggerated," he said.

However, he admitted that verification is being done. "We
are only asking landlords to get some identity of their
tenants," he said.

While Magu said the I-cards issued by the factories are
not being accepted for verification, Deswal stressed that this
identification was sufficient for the police.

Asked whether an unemployed worker without an I-card
would not be allowed to stay in the city, Deswal said, "The
identification of any of his or her relatives would do."

Deswal said the verification was a "usual" drive, which
will continue even after the Commonwealth Games.

But several exporters when contacted complained that
their workers are facing tough times. "... Security is a
matter of concern, but they (the police) need to understand
that this will have a huge impact on the business," the AEPC
chief said, adding that workers sent to their native place
would return only after Diwali and Chhat Puja.

According to an industry estimate, most of the migrant
labour is from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

"We employ 400-500 workers in our factory and half of
them have left in the last few days," the owner of Gurgaon-
based Lyra, Pritam Goel, said.

He said the major market for Indian apparels is Europe
and if the problem continues, "We fear huge losses ahead of
the Christmas season."

The NCR accounts for about USD 2 billion worth of apparel
exports every year, of which Gurgaon and Manesar`s share is
about 50 per cent.

As it is, the trend for apparel exports is negative. For
the April-July period of the current fiscal, exports were down
by an annualised 8 per cent to USD 3.4 billion.

PTI

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