PPE Stocklots Pile Up As HLL Halts New PPE Orders

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Ludhiana’s PPE manufacturers are facing the problem of surplus production and low demand.

A section of the Ludhiana textile industry that had found hope in making PPEs, is faced with uncertainty as the country’s largest buyer and a Centre-designated nodal procurement agency of Covid-19 emergency supplies, Hindustan Latex Limited (HLL), has temporarily halted new orders owing to issues concerning quality control.

Out of 121 units certified for manufacturing PPEs in the state, 108 are in Ludhiana. At least 12 of these Ludhiana firms were HLL’s sole suppliers and received orders to manufacture PPE suits in lakhs earlier. The decision will indirectly affect other vendors as well. A recent order from the mega-buyer has asked its suppliers to stop all further supplies as the quality of coveralls supplied by the manufactures is being reviewed by them. “You are requested to stop all further supplies since we are reviewing the quality of coveralls supplied by the manufacturers,” reads the mail shot by HLL to its PPE suppliers across the country.

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The order has come as a jolt to Ludhiana’s textile industry. Ludhiana Knitwear Club president Vinod Thapar said in these troubled times, making PPEs had come as a ray of hope to the manufacturers who worked with full zeal to meet the country’s demand. “Quality checks were conducted before the licence to manufacture was approved. It is unfortunate that new orders have been halted,” he rued.

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One manufacturer lamented that the sudden indefinite pause on new orders has resulted in bottlenecks in the factories, forcing manufacturers into financial and operational difficulties. The PPE manufacturers faced with the problem of surplus production and low demand are pinning their hopes on the export market. “We are in surplus production already. The price of PPEs has also fallen. We have requested the government to allow exports,” said Akhil Malhotra of Shiva Tex Fab in Ludhiana.

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Punjab industries director Sibin C said they have already taken up the issue of export of PPEs with the Union government “Since there is over production and low domestic demand, we have requested the Centre to allow exports,” he said.

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