'China dumping twisted silk yarn at cheap prices'

 India is not merely engaged in a border row with China, but is also fighting a battle against the dragons to protect the silk industry of the country.

Ahead of the crucial meeting between the foreign ministers of India, China and Russia in Bangalore, the Central Silk Board (CSB) chairperson H Hanumanthappa on Monday said China, the biggest silk manufacturer and exporter, is dumping twisted silk yarn at a very cheap price, which could render many people jobless.

In order to save the silk industry in India from the Chinese onslaught, the Central Silk Board has requested the Government of India to impose anti-dumping duties on Chinese twisted silk yarn.

The CSB chairperson said the Chinese onslaught on silk industry began from 2002-03 when it started dumping quality silk at a cheaper price. Then, the CSB approached the Government of India and got the anti-dumping duty imposed on silk clothes till 2014. “After that the Chinese manufacturers started sending raw silk to our country, due to which lakhs of weavers lost their jobs. We again got the Government of India to impose anti-dumping duty on raw silk,” said the CSB Chairperson.

Hanumanthappa complained that now the Chinese are dumping twisted silk yarn at a very cheap price. “The price per kilogram of the twisted silk yarn in India is Rs 1,700 whereas China is selling it in India at Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,400 per kilogram. We plan to take up even this matter with the Centre,” said Hanumanthappa. China ventured into selling twisted silk yarn because duties are quite low as compared to ordinary yarn.

The production cost of silk in India is escalating because the country still produces silk in a traditional way. For instance, reeling of silk is done in a traditional way by certain communities. To introduce technology for the reeling of silk, India imported two machines of 400 spindles from China at the cost of Rs 3 crore and intends to buy five more machines. Along with it a Coimbatore-based firm has agreed to manufacture reeling machine of 100 spindles, said Hanumanthappa.

Silk production

Elaborating on the silk business in India, Hanumanthappa said, India is producing 18,010 metric tonnes per year of silk whereas China produces 98,000 metric tonnes per annum. India is the only country which produces all the four varieties of silk, namely- Mulberry, Tasar, Eri and Muga and Karnataka leads the country with its annual production of 7,720 metric tonnes of silk whereas Andhra Pradesh stands in the second position with a production of 4,512 metric tonnes per annum.

West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, he said, produce 1,851 metric tonnes and 1,411 metric tonnes of silk respectively every year. The silk industry is giving employment to 63 lakh people in the country including 46 lakh farmers, three lakh dealers and 14 lakh weavers. Research works are yielding positive results to minimise damages to the silk industry due to diseases to the seeds.

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