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22. October 2007

Small foundries to go on indefinite strike

COIMBATORE: Small and tiny foundries here will stop production from October 22 seeking immediate measures from the Central and State Governments to control prices of the raw materials, according to a release from the Coimbatore Tiny and Small Foundry Owners’ Association.

This was decided at a meeting of the association held here on Wednesday. The association president, N. Balraj, said in the release that over 600 small and tiny foundries were operational here producing about 1,000 tonnes of castings a day. Pig iron, coke and scarp were the main raw materials used by these units and during the last three months, the prices of these materials had shot up tremendously.

For instance, the wholesale landing cost of pig iron was Rs. 20,300 a tonne in June this year and it was Rs. 25,000 now. The price of scarp was Rs. 16,000 a tonne in June and it had gone up to Rs. 19,500 a tonne now. The retail prices were nearly 15 per cent higher than the wholesale rates and most of the small and tiny foundries procured their raw materials from the retail sellers.

He said these foundries supplied castings, which was the raw material, to the engineering units and pump manufacturing industries. Many of these were also small-scale. Hence, the raw material price had hit the related industries too.

The Government should hold meetings with pig iron manufacturers and coke traders and take measures to bring down the prices, he said.

The small-scale foundries employed nearly two lakh workers directly and generated almost an equal number of indirect employment. The production loss due to the proposed strike would be to the tune of nearly Rs. 7 crore a day. This would affect manufacturing in the related industries too and the loss could be higher, he said.

The Institute of Indian Foundrymen, Coimbatore Chapter, Southern India Engineering Manufacturers’ Association and the Coimbatore District Small Industries Association have extended their support to the proposed indefinite strike by the members of the Coimbatore Tiny and Small Foundry Owners’ Association.

The associations plan to request their members to down shutters for a day in support of the strike. The date would be decided soon.

The cost of raw materials used by the foundries had shot up during the last four months. The associations also appealed to the Central Government to control the price of iron ore and help import of Chinese metrology coke. “We also request the Government to remove the import duty of five per cent on iron and steel scrap,” a release from the associations said.

Members of the Tamilnadu Pumps and Spares Manufacturers’ Association have decided to down shutters on October 22 in support of the indefinite strike by the small foundries here.

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