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The Surat-based textile processing industry has declared an indefinite strike, over a rise in the price of natural gas. Around 450 processing units are supplied by Gujarat Gas Company Ltd, which raised prices recently.
The striking units do nearly 90 per cent of the country’s total textile processing. According to estimates, the Surat-based industry daily processes around 45 million metres of synthetic cloth, including sarees and dress material. A day’s loss of production would mean a revenue loss of Rs 150 crore. The industry uses around a million standard cubic metres of gas per day.
A delegation of the striking unit owners, grouped under the South Gujarat Processors Association (SGPA), is scheduled to meet the state industries minister, Saurabh Patel, tomorrow. The Ahmedabad Textile Processors’ Association, the north Gujarat counterpart of SGPA, have not gone on strike, since the industry here uses coal and lignite as fuel instead of natural gas.
“Making the most of their monopoly, Gujarat Gas have hiked prices from Rs 11.50 to Rs 16.64 per standard cubic metre. It has been too much for processing as well as chemical units here in Surat to bear. Hence, we have gone on an indefinite strike till the matter is resolved,” said Pramod Chaudhary, president of South Gujarat Processors Association.
A BG group company, GGCL gets Re-gassified Liquefied Natural Gas from the Panna Mukta Tapti (PMT) gas fields near the Mumbai Offshore. But supply from the PMT fields halved recently from what the company received earlier, resulting in a shortage in supply to the industry. This prompted the company to buy costlier imported gas to meet the demand.
Apart from textile processing units, around 800 chemical units source fuel in the form of natural gas from GGCL. This industry is yet to given an official response on the price rise.
According to Chaudhary, gas prices for the industry units have risen by more than 10 per cent since January. Apparently, the imported LNG costs around $7 per mBtu against $4.2 under the administered price mechanism.