Kozhikode: Tile factories, pride of Malabar, fast vanishing

Kozhikode: With the Chinese invasion, the tile factories once dotted the banks of River Chaliyar as the pride of Malabar are fast vanishing.

Most of them switched over to other segments converting the large structures into auditoriums and convention centres, while a few still struggle to survive through diversification.

Imported Chinese tiles have captured 40% of the market in the state. The industry is also affected by the shortage of clay.  

Many companies were attracted to Feroke because of the availability of clay once found in abundance on the banks of Chaliyar.

"It is high time the government took the initiative to promote the industry by ensuring regular supply of raw material and control of the imported Chinese tiles to help the industry survive," said Calicut Time Company production manager T. Muhammad Ali.

"Many companies import clay from outside for a cost of about Rs 4,500 per ton, which affects the production as well as profit. The increased cost for construction also forced the buyers to opt for cheaper substitutes such as asbestos and tin sheets."

With most of the companies closed down, only four - Calicut Tile company, Commonwealth Company, Standard and National company - are currently functioning in Feroke region.

Companies like West Coast Tiles and Hindustan and Kerala Tiles, which were active years ago, are inactive now.

Because of the lack of funds, the existing companies are unable to adapt to modern technologies and strategies.

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