Four years ago, StitchWorld (Stitching technology-based magazine of Apparel Resources) published an article ‘Orissa: The New Apparel Manufacturing Destination!’, based on a study by Priyanka Sinha of NIFT, comparing 113 locations in India on 50 different key performance indicators to settle on the best and most low-cost apparel manufacturing hubs. In 2014, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle (MFL) proposed to set up a garment manufacturing unit in Orissa, and now India’s biggest apparel exporter Shahi Exports has laid the foundation stone of its new manufacturing unit in the same area at Mancheswar Industrial Estate, Bhubaneswar. With an investment worth US $ 5.5 million (Rs. 36 crore) and proposed capacity of 0.3 million pieces, the unit is expected to be completed in one year and it will provide employment to about 2500 people. Offering employment to almost 1,00,000 people, the company is doing annual business of almost US $ 738 million (Rs. 4800 crore). It has expanded 200 times in the last 4 decades and currently operates across 51 factories in six states and produces 135 million garments per year.
Recently, Naveen Patnaik, CM of the state, laid the foundation stone of the unit and expressed hope that this step of Shahi Exports will encourage others to invest in the state. “The state government has been focusing on textile industry as it generates more employment. Orissa has been contemplating to set up two integrated textile parks at Choudwar and Bhadrak,” Patnaik said. Union Textiles Secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda and Chairman of Shahi Exports Harish Ajuja were also present at the foundation laying ceremony. Started in 1974, Shahi Export won the Best Vendor Award, Wal-Mart/Target/JC Penney as well as the Highest Export Award by AEPC.