Why Israeli Police Officers Are Frequent Visitors To A Kerala Town?
Why are officers of the Israeli police force making frequent trips to a nondescript town in Kerala? The answer, for those who expect cloak-and-dagger stuff, may be disappointing. It so happens that their elegant light-blue, long sleeve uniform shirts are stitched at an apparel unit in Kannur, which has the glorious tradition of handloom making and textile export.
Hundreds of tailors at Maryan Apparel, operating at an industrial park, are at work to get uniforms ready for the Israeli police.
Besides stitching the double-pocket shirts, they also design and attach the trademark emblems on its sleeves. The dressmakers have been supplying nearly one lakh shirts annually to the Israeli police for the last three years.
Local businessman Thomas Olickal’s company also has orders for uniforms for Kuwait’s fire service and national guard. If everything goes as planned, Maryan Apparel could soon start producing uniforms for the Philippine Army, a top company official said.
“We have been supplying uniform shirts to the Israeli police- both men and women officers- for the last three years,” Sijin Kumar, the accounts and administration manager of the company said.
“Earlier, we used to supply trousers too. But, the order was bagged by a Chinese firm recently. We hope to get the contract back at the earliest and discussions are on,” he said.
Launched in 2006, the company specialises in army, police uniforms and also those worn by security officers and health service workers of various countries. These are besides the regulation school uniforms, supermarket staff wear, doctors’ coats and coveralls.
In 2008, the apparel unit shifted to Kannur to provide jobs to people who had been left unemployed after the decline of the traditional beedi sector.
Sijin Kumar said Israeli officers are very particular about quality and even minute details of the stitching and embroidery.
“They visit the stitching unit at frequent intervals to monitor the process. Recently, they tasked a company in Tamil Nadu with the monitoring; that team comes here once a month for quality checks,” said factory manager Shaneesh TV.
Generally, between 50,000-1,00,000 Israeli uniforms are produced in a year with material imported from the US.