The Indian Premier League (IPL) has come as a much-needed respite for sports lovers who were famished by the drought of live sports for months owing to the outbreak of COVID-19. Not only from the sporting perspective, but this IPL also harbours the hope of helping a lot of economic sectors as by their dream tie-ups with the league and the franchises.
This has also been the case for a Surat-based textile manufacturing industry. After Chinese products started getting banned in India, the import of Chinese circular knitted polyester cloth, which is worn by players in the league, was reduced from 800 tonnes to 200 tonnes. The Surat manufacturers grabbed this opportunity to produce the fabric used in the T-shirts for the players.
Owing to the pandemic and its influence in the market, textile manufacturers are facing a 50 per cent cut in production. However, the circular knitwear sector in textiles is running at 80 per cent production, thanks to the Surat textile industry.
The ecosystem was so far dominated by cotton-based circular knitting industries based out of Kolkata and Tirupar. Now, there is a demand for polyester-based circular knitwear that allows the fabric to dry faster, is lighter in weight and is use-and-throw has gone up. The circular knitting industries established in Surat 20 years ago have been undergoing up-gradation for the past 8 years.
According to a report carried out in Ahmedabad Times, those leading the circular knitting industry in Surat said that there are 150 manufacturers in the city who have about 3,000 machines. The labour cost in creating these fabrics is only 50 paise per metre as compared to normal fabrics, and the demand in the local market is very high. Polyester fabrics made by circular knitting industry are in demand for its multipurpose uses, including the making of shoes, suitcases, baby frocks, swimming costumes, leggings and T-shirts.
Before the pandemic, Surat used to import 800 tonnes of polyester knitted fabrics from China, which has now reduced to 200 tonnes. In comparison, Surat manufacturers produce more than Rs 5.5 crore worth of textiles at an estimated 4.5 lakh kg per day. About 80 per cent of this fabric that is used across the country is produced in Surat, while 20 per cent of the fabrics are exported to Arab countries.