Plywood manufacturers from Indian state demand more financial aid from government to recover businesses after flood

KOCHI: Plywood manufacturers of Perumbavoor are demanding financial aid from the state government to recover businesses severely hit by recent floods. Sawmill Owners and Plywood Manufacturers’ Association (SOPMA) stated that, an estimated Rs 100 crore worth of raw materials and machineries were damaged in the floods.

“Seventy plywood factories in Perumbavoor were damaged in the flooding and of them, some suffered serious destruction. Firms that suffered most – 40 of them – incurred a loss of Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore, each. Others had a loss of Rs 10 – 75 lakh each,” said M M Mujeeb Rahman, president, SOPMA.

“ Those 40 factories won’t be able to restart operations, without any financial aid from the government. Strong flood currents had carried away their raw materials, which includes importer ‘face veneer’ from Myanmar. Generally, manufacturers stock a couple of loads of face veneer, costing Rs 60-70lakh each load, in their godown. The current was so powerful that machines were uprooted and carried away, damaging their foundations in certain cases,” Rahman said.

Though the state government has promised Rs 10 lakh interest-free loans to the businesses that were affected by floods, SOPMA members said that it is still insufficient to restart their businesses. “We might need Rs 25 lakh, at the least, as interest-free loans. If the government doesn’t bail us out, it will be a loss for them too —  plywood manufacturers had been paying Rs 2.5 crore as GST daily,” remarked Ramah.

Plywood manufacturers are also worried that insurance claims will not be paid out on time. According to Rahman, the minister of local self-government A C Moideen visited one of the affected factories and said that insurance companies would gather at Ernakulam collectorate on September 16 to discuss details of the disbursement.

According to SOPMA, Kerala has 600 plywood manufacturers, 450 of which are found out of Perumbavoor, in nearby towns like Vengola, Vazhakkulam and Okkai.