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Delhi-NCR pollution chokes apparel industry too! Production delayed, buyers cancel visits…

by Dheeraj Tagra

26-November-2018  |  7 mins read

Delhi-NCR pollution

The problem of pollution has engulfed Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region) like never before, with people left with no option but to inhale the ‘very poor’ air, in the city. According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), Particulate Matter 10 (PM10), which cause respiratory diseases, has been recorded at a dangerous level of 372 in the region. The four major apparel manufacturing hubs, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, and Faridabad, have been equally affected as they too recorded “very poor” air quality.

These difficult conditions are also hampering apparel export business with delay in production with few buyers also cancelling their visits. Animesh Chakraborty, Senior Executive Sourcing and Merchandising, United Colors of Benetton, Noida shared with Apparel Resources, “Severe pollution followed by festive holidays (Diwali) has really affected a lot on our ‘Time & Action’ plans. Based on Delhi government’s decision, all printing & dyeing mills were closed for almost 2 weeks (4th to 15th Nov) and the same has resulted into a big stockpile, which has really impacted a lot on the business too.”

He further added that most of the buyers are either from the UK or from the US, who will be on off in the next couple of weeks in the wake of Christmas and New Year. “Delhi-NCR based mills were reopened on 16th November and almost maximum buyers will go off by the second week of December. In this scenario, the entire work of November and December has to be completed within three weeks only,” he added.

Animesh strongly feels that this is also one of the reasons Fall/Winter business in India is comparatively less than Indonesia, China, and Bangladesh.

“A few days back I got an email from my Panipat-based supplier that due to all these things factories will remain closed for a few days. So, my sampling, as well as my shipment, is delayed by at least 15 days. And I can’t say how it will take shape. Even buyers can cancel the order as they need delivery exactly on time. So, we are facing difficulties due to pollution,” shared Lokesh Parashar, Director, Adkindia LLC, Delhi who is also associated with Federation of Buying Agents (FBA).

Few buying houses representatives confirmed the cancellation of their buyers visit which directly increased buying houses’ work burden as well as impacted business too. Sandhya Samuel, GM- Merchandising, Find Agencies, Noida shared, “Buyers are regularly getting the updates about Delhi. We had a buyer’s visit plan a few days back but they cancelled the visit and asked us to come to Europe as they could not come to Delhi due to pollution. This had a direct impact on business. Another buyer enquired about the pollution and asked to provide masks during his visit to Delhi-NCR.”

She further adds that quality controllers are avoiding to go outside for factory visit… everybody wants to stay in office. Since some of the factories, especially in Ghaziabad, have remained closed due to pollution, there has been a delay in the production as a result of which shipments are under pressure. We have informed the buyers about this delay and have asked them to give us more time.

Pradeep Nahata, Director, Karni Exports, Jaipur shared his experience, saying, “Recently one of our buyers from Norway directly came to Jaipur. She had heard a lot about Delhi’s pollution and avoided to go to Delhi due to the same. She called Delhi-based exporters to Jaipur and had met here only as she went back from Jaipur. Few other buyers do have such pollution related discussion with me.”

Buyers avoiding visits is obviously not a good sign as it directly impacts the business.

Apart from buyer’s visitations and delayed production, pollution too had very negative impact on workers’ health. Looking into this, some export houses are taking steps. Like Pawan Arya, VP-Operations, Orient Craft, Noida told, “We are facing this pollution issue from past many years and it has the regular impact every year. We give masks to our each and every worker. Workers who are not willing to wear these masks, we made them aware of health issues in the future. Post-Diwali we noticed very high absenteeism due to throat choking and mild fever issues in our workers and staff. Just a few days back we organized a health check-up camp in which doctors examined workers regarding hypertension, bones, chest, and lungs.” Orient Craft is one of the leading apparel export houses of India, with factories across the country.

Many apparel manufacturing factories have done counselling of workers that how they can save themselves from pollutions, and steps of self care. KC Biswas, Senior Manager, HR & Compliance, Kavita Women Wear, (Lakshita) Noida stated, “Our company is already providing buses to our workers so they have comfortable means to come and go to the factory. Masks are already given to them and they use it properly. So I have not come across any impact on our workers due to pollution. Despite that, we have guided our workforce about pollution. From last few months, we are focusing more on health and safety issues and giving training for the same so workers are more aware and safer from all such things.”