It was business as usual for the textile industry in Surat, depriving many workers the opportunity to cast their votes for the local body elections. Elections to 120 seats in 30 wards of the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) was held on Sunday.
South Gujarat Textile Processing Association president Jitubhai Vakhariya said, “We did not have any instruction from the district administration on closing the business for election. Among the centres that functioned, some factory owners allowed their labourers to go for voting. We had appealed to the dyeing and printing mills to keep their factories shut but most of them were open.” There are around 340 dyeing and printing mills, and over 35,000 powerloom factories in Surat city.
Labour union leader Kamran Usmani said, “There are many labourers who were not able to cast their votes as the factories were open. The administration should have instructed the industries association to keep their factories closed on election day.”
Sachin Weavers’ Association president Mahendra Ramolia said, “There are around 35,000 powerloom factories in Surat city and all were open. We had sent message to the industries in our areas to allow the workers to go for voting. Some of the powerloom factories gave a two-hour interval for the workers to vote.”
The diamond industry, however, was shut for business, Sunday being the week off. Surat Diamond Association president Nanubhai Vekariya said, “The diamond manufacturing units have holiday on Sunday and our workers could exercise their franchise.”
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