|Closure of clay-tiles factory, Kozhikode, Kerala thehindu.com|
|Banned clay mining led to closure of tiles factory, Kozhicode, kerala thehindu.com|
The reason for their sustained name among the roof-tile industries is the company never had compromised on the quality of tiles by strictly adhering to all those relevant standard quality procedures ever since its very first day of production 142 years ago. At that point of time India was under the British Crown rule. In the aftermath of its closure, 193 dedicated employees lost the job and many of them with lots of experience, as many as 37 years, are left in the lurch and they need to look else where for income to get the family going.
The management took a decision suddenly without giving them prior warning though the factory had enough clay to run the factory for a couple of months says the labor union. In this state, the communist party has a hold and the labor unions protested against this closureand; it was of no avail. The company said they did make an announcement in this regard recently and the company's efforts to revive the situation met with failure.
The closure of this pioneering factory may not be counted as an isolated case among the tile factories in this district. As many as 14 factories in this region were closed down earlier for some reasons. The new mining regulations imposed by the central and State governments and poor availability of quality clay in other areas are said to be the main reasons. Besides, the tiles companies had been facing acute competition due to flooding of Chines tiles on the market imported at a meager duty of just 5%. In the Kochi port, in the last two years or so, the import of Chinese tiles spiked and they had an edge over the quality Indian tiles. The other problem was the recent change of design of architectural styles of roof top tiles. In addition, there has been an increasing use of various attractive colored metal roofing sheets being used in this part of the state where it rains a lot during the SW monsoon, beginning in June on the west coastal areas
This historical clay tile company ruled the roost for a pretty long time in this region and its brand called Queen Brand was a classy one and famous. The superior quality terracotta tiles were exported to as far as the Bahrain, UK and Qatar markets, besides wide spread domestic market. The expertise they gained through a legacy of more than 120 years of experience was reason behind their success. Their innovative products were trendsetter in their own way. The terracotta tiles appear in a range of models applicable to flooring, roofing and ceilings. They also made ventilator bricks and building blocks. Quite appealing to your eyes and heart the tile products, company says, will promise you a world of endless imagination and vision.
The State government had earlier promised that it would reconsider an alternative area for clay mining once a satellite survey was taken in Feroke and surrounding areas to demarcate a suitable clay mining area and permit mining. Despite three rounds of discussions with the Chief Minister and officials in the Revenue department t over a few months, no decision was taken to conduct a satellite survey. This resulted in the closure of many units in this area. Alternative source of clay from neighboring states is a costly affair and the cost overruns will be way high.
The Calicut brand of roof tiles was most popular for house construction for more than a century and the tile factories are located on the banks of the Chaliyar river in Feroke. Now, all are shut down and chances of resurgence are bleak.
The company is optimistic that they will resume the production of traditional clay styles once the bottle necks are sorted out. But, the present scenario is not in favor of a reasonable solution. This view was expressed by other companies as well..