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Blow to calendar industry in Sivakasi

26th November 2013

Courtesy: The Times of India

Blow to calendar industry in Sivakasi due to power cuts

Sivakasi is known not just for firecracker manufacturing, but also as a hub of calendar printing. The months just ahead of New Year are prime time here, as calendar units are busy printing them. However, this time around, calendar manufacturers are worried despite ample orders. Frequent power cuts have derailed production schedules and manufacturers fear they may fail to meet business commitments.

In fact, the printers are taken aback by the power woes haunting the industrial town as they felt power scenario has improved this year. The Rs 50-crore industry hoped for a rebound after years of downturn due to power crisis. But good times seem elusive as Sivakasi still reels under 8 hours of power cut. Expecting good production with improved power supply till October, printers here accepted a large number of orders. But the erratic power supply has hit them hard with printers wondering if they can deliver the orders of clients in time.

K Jaishankar of Karpaga Calendars revealed the predicament of calendar manufacturers. "The power outage caught us quite unexpectedly. We believed power availability has improved and there is no dearth of orders as well. But we are not sure if we can deliver the orders" Jaishankar said.

November and December are crucial periods for calendar printers as they start working round the clock at these times. "We expect production to fall by 40% if the power crisis continues. The worst part is that the power cuts have no schedule. If we could at least know the schedule, we can plan our production accordingly" Jaishankar said.

In addition to regular orders, printers get last-minute orders in November and December. "We are not able to complete the regular orders as well. I have been asking 10 days extension on the promised delivery date. We are worried if we can meet the last-minute orders at all" said S Thiagarajan of Sri Murugan Printing Press, one of the old calendar manufacturers in the town.

The industry employs nearly 40 to 50 thousand workers in the town directly and indirectly. Even workers are worried as with lower production, their earnings may drop. "November and December are crucial months in this trade. We thought power situation has improved and we will get good income this year, but we are upset about the turn of events" rued Murugan, one of the workers at a calendar unit.

Sivakasi has around 60% market share in calendars. Printers come out with many creative ideas every year to retain the market share. In addition to Tamil calendars, units have started printing daily sheet calendars in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi.

Profile of calendar industry

Origins in 1938 when the printing industry flourished

From two players, it has grown to a big industry with 10 major players, 30 small and medium players

More than 100 small units engaged in ancillary business

Rs 50 crore turnover of calendar units

More than 10,000 intermediaries from the state place orders at Sivakasi units for distribution elsewhere

Sivakasi alone commands 90% of daily-sheet calendar industry. Small units in Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai and Chennai districts account for the rest

Employs nearly 40 to 50 thousand labourers who are involved in various chain of activities

Also prints calendars in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Hindi

As power crisis affect 40% of the production, manufacturers fear they wont be able to complete orders in time

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