NEW BACKLOG OF TEXTILE EXPORT CARGO GRIPS INDIA

NEW BACKLOG OF TEXTILE EXPORT CARGO GRIPS INDIA

Textiles Minister Shard Yadav is trying to arrange more cargo flights to clear a backlog of export garments, official sources said Friday.

More than 2,000 metric tons of garments have piled up at Delhi Airport, while Bombay and other airports also report a rise in backed-up air cargo.This latest upsurge is part of a chronic problem. Late last year, Indian exporters said they lost heavily when shipments to the United States and Europe were stuck on the ground here.

Commerce and textile ministry officials visited Delhi airport recently to assess the situation. Mr. Yadav will now raise the matter with his counterpart at the civil aviation ministry, the sources said.

The aviation ministry, meanwhile, is seeking to clear itself of any blame. It says foreign airlines aren't hauling the cargo because the Indian government hasn't agreed to an increase in freight rates.

Airlines argue that their demand for a hike in rates is justified because of the recent depreciation of the rupee against other currencies.

Indian garment exporters also are troubled by a paucity of space on Air India freighter flights. The state-owned carrier hopes to lease aircraft from the Soviet Union, but these will not be available until late this month.