Shanmugam has drawn the attention of officials from the Union Ministry of Textiles in this regard

CHENNAI: The Central government’s decision to procure millions of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) suits from China has not gone down well with the Tirupur garment cluster in Tamil Nadu, which manufactures textile worth Rs 60,000 crore a year for exports and domestic markets.

The textile manufacturers and exporters in Tirupur, who are facing tough times due to massive cancellation of export orders, strongly feel that the Centre, instead of importing PPE kits from China, should support them in mass manufacturing of kits and masks. The units are capable of producing PPE kits and masks at par with Chinese products, but all they need is a little support from the government in the form of technical know-how and guidance on the standard operating procedures, they feel.

“The move will serve multiple purposes as the government will get PPE suits timely and at economical prices. At the same time, the manufacturing units in Tirupur, which are struggling for survival, will get some business as well. This will help Tirupur to get exposure on medical textile sector,” said Raja M Shanmugam, president of Tirupur Exporters’ Association (TEA).

Shanmugam has drawn the attention of officials from the Union Ministry of Textiles in this regard.

Over 100 manufacturing units in Tirupur have started manufacturing masks and PPE kits and are supplying it to different state governments. They started on humanitarian grounds initially, supplying to the local administration. But now, the units have started selling it commercially, following the huge demand. 

“With hand-holding from the government, the Tirupur cluster can transform itself into a medical textile hub and it is much-needed at the moment as the battle against coronavirus is going to be a long one. We need millions of different grades of PPE suits, as everyone from doctors to sanitary workers need it. We cannot depend on China, as importing the products from that country will consume more time,” added Shanmugam.