Coimbatore, the industrial town in Tamil Nadu, has over 50,000 small units.
These make parts used in textile machinery, automobiles, household gadgets et cetera.
Babu's unit, called SJ Industries, made parts for pumps.
In 2008, he had quit his job with a big unit, pawned his wife's jewellery, raised loans from friends and invested Rs 5.2 lakh in five machines. For the first year, business was good. Orders poured in.
Then the electricity crisis hit him. With eight to ten hours of power cuts, there was no way he could run the machines. Babu was unable to fulfill orders.
Some months ago, he shuttered his unit, sold the machines and took up a job as a machine operator in another unit.
Murugan, whose casting unit did business worth Rs 2 lakh a month till two years ago, now works as a labourer at a construction site.
Bashir from Ambur has shut his footwear component business and has taken up a job in a tannery.
These aren't isolated examples...
Image: A worker takes a nap during a power cut in front of yarn-spinning equipment inside a factory in Coimbatore.
Text: TE Narasimhan, Business Standard