Kutch industries are struggling to survive the Biparjoy Effect

Armed with a large investment proposal, a young businessman entered the office of Narendra Modi, then Prime Minister, who was recovering from the severe trauma of the January 26, 2001 earthquake. The businessman wanted to expand his Vapi textile division. However, Modi suggested considering investing in Kutch and using the announced tax breaks to boost industrialization in the badly devastated district.

In a hushed voice, businessman Modi shared that textile processing requires large amounts of water and even expressed concern about the ongoing aftershocks. Modi assured him not only of water but also of other necessary infrastructure. The businessman who took up the gauntlet was none other than BK Goenka, chairman of the $3 billion Welspun Group, which made not only textiles but also pipe and steel in Kutch! Several others followed, and Kutch wrote a screenplay for an industrialization story that nearly erased the bitter memories of the disaster, spurring billions in investment, creating many jobs, and contributing to the treasury like never before.

But the same industries that brought prosperity to the once-backward district are struggling to weather the storm unleashed by Cyclone Biparjoy, which struck Kutch on the night of June 15. While all major units developed appropriate infrastructure
After 2001, companies have withstood strong earthquakes, wind speeds of up to 140 km/h have brought companies to a standstill due to massive damage to the power and communication infrastructure. According to official figures, at least 80,000 power poles collapsed in Kutch alone.

Estimates put the loss of physical infrastructure at around Rs. 2,500 crore, but production losses have increased to Rs. 1.25 million at a loss of Rs. 15,000 crore per day. As power is gradually restored, the collapsed communications towers have caused an internet outage that has caused financial transactions to grind to a halt. “The ports have started operations and the power supply is also being restored. But without the internet, no work can begin as most financial transactions are done digitally,” said a promoter of a logistics company in Mundra.

“It took about an hour to upload a PDF file. No invoices were made,” he said. In the highly industrialized Gandhidham-Adipur cluster alone, 1,700 transformers were damaged and many of them are still inoperable. The future
Disaster preparedness strategies would be extremely important for industry players investing billions in green hydrogen and renewable energy, says Chintan Thaker, president of Assocham, Gujarat chapter. Due to the gusty winds, numerous solar panels could be seen scattered on the streets.

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