In a gala evening function organised during the Laundrex India Expo on February 14, the laundry and dry-cleaning service providers from across India gathered to formally launch the Dry-cleaners’ & Launderers’ Association of India (DLAI).
Hailing the successful launch of the Association, General Secretary Srinivas Rao, said, “DLAI is purely formed of the dry-cleaners & launderers, by the dry- cleaners & launderers and for the dry-cleaners & launderers of India. We shall be working towards getting the required Industry status for all our fellow members by approaching the right channels be it Governmental bodies or trade associations, etc.”
With 23 founding members, the DLAI initiated the membership campaign at the Laundrex India Expo, India’s only expo dedicated to the dry-cleaning & laundry segment. Clean India Journal will be the exclusive media partner for propagating the voice of the dry-cleaning & laundry segments and giving the required coverage to spread awareness and best practices.
Speaking at the inauguration, Jayaraman Nair, Chairman of Virtual Info Systems Pvt. Ltd, the organiser of Laundrex India Expo and publisher of Clean India Journal, said, “It is commendable that the dry-cleaning & laundry segments have come together to form an association. As rightly pointed out, these two segments offer one of the highest job opportunities for the people. Hence, there is much need for spreading awareness & knowledge, propagating best practices and raising standards.” He also assured the Association the required support by providing the platform at Laundrex India Expo.
In continuation, Rao said, “Since the laundry & dry- cleaning has so far been an unorganised segment, we are still not able to attract the right manpower at many of our units and cities. To combat this, we have decided to form institutions wherein fresh matriculates can join and obtain a Diploma/Degree in Laundry process and get a guaranteed job with one of our fellow members across the country.”
Some of the issues highlighted during the launch include:
• Highly Unorganized and Fragmented
• Lack of Proper Skills and Training
• Lack of Infrastructure
• Scaling Issues to due limited data on Market Size.
• Industry Best Practices
• Pollution Norms and Policies concerning our Industry
• Huge Capex Requirements to enter B2B Markets
• Lack of Exposure to International Markets
• Little to no Government Support
• No Clarity on Rules & Regulations pertaining to our Industry
• No Common platform or body where Laundry and dry Clean Business owners can address their grievances
Elated over the response on the first day of opening membership on Feb 14, Suresh Bhatia, President of DLAI, said, “We’ve crossed over 100 primary members on day one itself from many States of India. The registrations are coming in on a daily basis and we are still evaluating the numbers.”
The initial mandate of coming together to form an association was largely driven by the GST factor levied differently, causing issues of pricing with the service providers and suppliers. However, in the last four months, the agenda has increased. Some of the issues to be taken up –
• To drive membership numbers to 10,000 plus
• To set up schools and learning centres for benefit of all fellow members
• To drive certification of units which are utilising the best technology, eco-friendly products and conserving water resources
• Set up and arbitration cell to help our fellow members to deal with their daily chores
• Approach Government/GST Council for reduction of GST to 5% or so
Emphasising on bringing about a change right from the grassroot level, Rao said that even the dhobis who are now being engaged by retail and commercial launderers will be included in the process. “A lot of such dhobis lives have changed or shall get changed for better when we get them better working conditions, modern machines and equipment and detergents which are not harmful and are eco-friendly, etc. We shall design a specific model to eventually uplift them.”