NTC resurrects 3 Mumbai mills

Even as private textile mill owners here shift from producing cloth to developing real estate, government-owned National Textile Corporation (NTC) has pumped in Rs 150 crore to modernise three mills in the city, to be inaugurated on Tuesday.

The company’s three units in the city’s mill district — Tata Mills (Parel), Podar Mills (Lower Parel) and Indu Mills No 5 (near Lalbaug) — are set to use new German and American equipment. These mills employ over 2,500 workers and would carry out spinning and weaving operations only, not processing. They would together produce 10-12 million kg of yarn annually and 14 million tonnes of cloth.

The second innings for the three units comes when only two private undertakings — Ruby Mills and Bombay Dyeing — remain, both only partially operational. The others have either shut or been relocated to other parts of the state or to neighbouring Gujarat. For instance, Morarjee Mills shifted its operations to Butibori near Nagpur; a part of Ruby Mills went to Khopoli, Hindustan Mills to Karhad and some of Bombay Dyeing’s facilities shifted to Ranjangaon. Mafatlal Mills and Century Mills opted for Gujarat.

As for the land vacated by them in central Mumbai, it has been used to develop office complexes, apartments and shopping malls. Some are in the process of also building hotels, in line with the provisions of Development Control Rules.

Though some NTC properties have been sold, a Mumbai-based analyst said the development is quite significant, that NTC preferred to modernise and run these mills than opt for closure to reap a windfall through the sale of land. Property prices have picked up in recent months and in central Mumbai, the going rate is in the region of Rs 20,000 per sq ft.

“Three mills are located on 50 acres. NTC has ploughed back a portion of proceeds of sale of land from other mills to revive these,” an official who did not wish to be identified to Business Standard.

But, he said, given the high cost of power, the public sector company would be asking the state government to provide electricity at subsidised rates.

NTC used to have 25 mills in Mumbai. Apart from the revival of these three, it has taken the joint venture route to redevelop India United Mills No 1, Apollo Mills and Gold Mohur Mills, in south-central Mumbai. These mills were closed after NTC got approval from the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction.

The redeveloped mills will not be composite units but will have a garment unit and other allied businesses. NTC has closed 19 mills and paid about Rs 12 lakh to each worker. Maharashtra minister of state for industry Sachin Ahir said NTC has entered into an agreement with the textile millworkers union, the Rashtriya Mill Mazdoor Sangh, for providing jobs to nearly 5,000 workers in the to-be-redeveloped India United Mills No 1, Apollo Mills and Gold Mohur Mills.

Source : Business Standard.  18/01/10


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