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Tuesday, Apr 27, 2004

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Punjab Apparel Park making progress

G. Srinivasan

New Delhi , April 26

AS part of the proposal of the Ministry of Textiles for setting up apparel parks across the country to extend a `single shop' package for international buyers of Indian garments, the Punjab Apparel Park is making considerable progress with the `good response' of the knitwear industry in Ludhiana.

Industry sources told Business Line here that the Apparel Exporters Association of Ludhiana (APPEAL) which has conceived and nourished the Punjab Apparel Park, has recently intimated the Ministry of Textiles here that the project has received 76 applications, along with 25 per cent application amount for plots of different sizes in the proposed park.

The sources said that the response of knitwear units in Ludhiana to the Punjab park has been gratifying because the apparel industry in the city consists of 10,000 units comprising exporters, brand manufacturers and low-value-high-volume manufacturers.

The product categories leading the growth include knitted apparels and accessories such as shawls.

The sources said that APPEAL itself was created by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) Cluster Development Programme in 1998 with a remit to steer the process of industrial development in Ludhiana knitwear cluster.

UNIDO had a three-pronged objective: Stimulating the export segment to lead the change movement, energising a wider spectrum of the domestic industry to underpin the growth of the export segment and creating a nodal organisation of exporters.

APPEAL's areas of focus include marketing, human resources development, infrastructure, policy and information and sub-contracting. It has a membership of 60 exporters with cumulative exports turnover of $175 million.

Ludhiana knitwear cluster exports to all leading global brands such as GAP, Sara, Marks and Spencer's, Tommy Hilfiger, Mexx, Oilly across four continents, besides being a leading fine knit fabric supplier to countries Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The cluster also supplies garments to leading national brands such as Wills Lifestyle, Raymond's, M TV, Colourplus and Pantaloon.

Ludhiana is also known for its own brands such as Monte Carlo, Duke, Octave, Blue Mount and Neva. The cluster is also becoming a leading supply base to chain stores such as Shoppers' Stop, Lifestyle, Ebony and Westside.

The current exports from the Ludhiana cluster is $277 million and the domestic market is worth $1 billion, growing at a rate of over 10 per cent per year over the last few years.

Advancing the reasons as to how Ludhiana has become a natural fit spot for the launch of an apparel park, the sources said the city could boast of complete supply chain for apparel production. The park would facilitate access to world-class infrastructure and converge extant Government incentives under a single and integrated facility, the sources said.

The park is being created over an area of 100 acres on the outskirts of Ludhiana on the National Highway towards Delhi. The park is expected to add an additional $200 million to the country's exports and provide employment to nearly 25,000 workers.

The sources said the cost of the plots at the park is "competitively priced" for fully `developed' land and access to common facilities which include effluent treatment plant, resource centre, conference hall, exhibition call, training centre, commercial and retail outlets for suppliers, forwarding agencies, service units, testing lab, R&D centres and hostel for workers.

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