Once called as Manchester of the East, Ahmedabad is emerging as a major centre for manufacturing cotton garments across India. Low overhead costs and conducive city infrastructure are drawing key manufacturers to the city.

The city, now home to around 5,000 manufacturers, has seen a significant spurt in the number — from about 500 — over a decade. While the local manufacturers have expanded their operations over the last couple of years, manufacturers from outside the state have also poured into the city because of the low cost of production.

"No other major Indian city has so low overhead cost as Ahmedabad. Retail and wholesale buyers, as well as players of organized retails, have set their eyes on Ahmedabad to source products," said Vijay Purohit, president of Gujarat Garment Manufacturers Association (GGMA) which began three-day GGMA Garment Fair at Gujarat Universtiy Exhibition Ground on Thursday.

Products are cheaper by about 30 per cent as compared to those in larger cities like Mumbai, also called Mecca of fashion in Inda or National Capital Territory, the largest manufacturing hub in the country.

"The overheads are lower in Ahmedabad. The land is cheaper than in Mumbai or Delhi. The internal design of the city is such that the time to commute between workplace and residence is significantly lower than in other cities. Moreover, manufacturers here are working on lower margins. Gujarat's share in garment manufacturing in the country rose from 4-5% about a decade ago to about 14-15% now," said Purohit.

The city offers all the segments within Garments. Aditya Singh, VP of V-Mart and heading kidswear vertical said that Gujarat has a monopoly in womenswear, particularly ethnicwear.

Menswear is the most soughtafter product category from Ahmedabad. Manufacturers also make womenswear and kidswear. Satender Kumar Rao, a senior official in Citykart, which has 40 stores, mostly in northern India, said that 30-35% of company's purchases are from Gujarat.

"Manufacturers here help in keeping price competitive while offering quality products," said Rao. Gujarat is also one of the top producers of cotton in the country. With ample availability of migrant labour force, manufacturers from other states are also setting up their units in Ahmedabad.

Originally based out of Bikaner, Mukesh Samsukha, owner of Mukesh Appeals, said overall conduciveness in doing business and work-life balance that Ahme-dabad offers had prompted him to start a full-fledged manufacturing unit about five years ago. Now, he is manufacturing 30,000-35,000 units of men's trousers every month.

"My relatives have manufacturing facilities in Punjab and Delhi. But, I chose Ahmedabad as it is peaceful and one can wind up the unit by evening and enjoy the rest of the day with family," said Samsukha. Following him, one of his relatives, Dilip, also started a kidswear manufacturing facility in Ahmedabad.

Source : Dnaindia

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