The Kerala town from where Israeli cops get their uniform
Kerela :Why are officers of the Israeli police force travelling all the way to a nondescript town in north Kerala in frequent intervals? Because, their elegant light blue, long-sleeve uniform shirts are being stitched at an apparel unit in Kannur, which has the glorious tradition of handloom making and textile export. Hundreds of tailors at the Maryan Apparel Pvt Limited, operating at the industrial park at Valiyavelicham in the district, are toiling hard to get the smart looking uniforms ready for the Israel police force. They not only stitch the double-pocket shirts but also design and attach the trademark emblems on its sleeves. The local dressmakers have been supplying nearly one lakh shirts annually to the Israeli police for the last three years. Owned by Thodupuzha-based businessman Thomas Olickal, the company also bagged the orders for supplying uniforms for Kuwait’s fire service and National Guard. If everything goes as planned, the Maryan Apparel would soon start stitching uniforms for the Philippine Army, a top company official said. “We are supplying uniform shirts to the Israeli police — both men and women officers — for the last three years,” Sijin Kumar, accounts and administration manger of the company said. “Earlier, we used to supply trousers also. But, the order for it was bagged by a Chinese firm recently. We hope that we will get the contract back at the earliest and discussions are going on in this regard,” he said. Launched at the state-run Kinfra Park here in 2006, the company specialises in uniforms of army men, police personnel, security officers and health service workers of various countries across the globe. It also supplies school uniforms, dress for super market staff, doctors’ coats, coveralls, corporate wears and so on. In 2008, the apparel unit was shifted to Kannur with an objective to provide employment to local people who had become jobless due to the decline of the traditional beedi sector there. Kumar said the Israeli officials are very particular about the quality of the material and even the minute details of the stitching and embroidery. “They visit the stitching unit at frequent intervals to monitor the process. Recently, they entrusted the task of monitoring with a company in Tamil Nadu and their team come here once in a month to check the quality of the work,” Factory Manager, Shaneesh T V said. The number of uniforms stitched at the unit would depend on their requirements. Generally, it would be between 50,000-1,00,000 annually, he said. The material for the uniform of Israel police is imported from the United States. The cloth, produced at the company’s own mill in Mumbai, would also be used at times. The apparel unit that employs 850 people, majority of them women, are planning to expand its operations in the coming years. But, the lack of sufficient trained and skilled manpower is a major cause of concern for the company authorities.