Locks lose charm due to coronavirus lockdown in Tamil Nadu's Dindigul
Dindigul, June 15: Dindigul, a place in Tamil Nadu that is known for its renowned lock industry, whose products have got the GI tag, has been badly hit during the lockdown as owners struggle for financing, getting new orders and paying salaries to staff.
About 200 skilled locksmiths from several villages in the district have been engaged for the past several decades in making locks from scrap metal with their unique skills to make the end products extremely durable.
Many owners said that the industry was already beset with problems before the COVID-19 enforced lockdown as they had to face stiff competition from branded players and some companies opting for cheaper products from China.
"We never expected this kind of situation. The locks lost their purpose during this lockdown. All shops were closed and employees were the worst affected", Premkumar, a third generation entrepreneur in the district told an news agency.
It was much more difficult in the present scenario and therefore the workers were being asked to make just two or three locks per day, he said. Even after the locks were made, it was difficult to get them to customers due to restrictions on movement of vehicles.
Another entrepreneur Mohan said most shops and markets were closed and he expected the situation to stabilise in about three to six months. He said there are 10 major companies manufacturing locks, whose average sales volume annually ranges between Rs one crore to Rs two crore.
Referring to the branded players entering the segment, he said the machine made locks are better priced but do not have the same quality of those made by the players. He claimed that locks of reputed manufacturers could easily break open, but not those made here as complicated mechanisms are used.
Customers' faith in their products could be gauged from a recent incident where the management of a temple insisted on locks from them after miscreants broke into the shrine, which until then was using a branded make, he said.