Saturday, October 23, 2021

Mohali industrialists foresee ‘Black Diwali’; Covid, no goods train, labour shortage, low finances to blame

Lashing out at Narendra Modi-led Centre Government for inflicting brutal wounds on the industry in Punjab by prohibiting movement of goods trains in the state, Pawan Dewan, Chairman of the Punjab Large Industrial Development Board, said that rail services were not stopped even in the peak terrorism days. Suspension of freight trains has pushed against the wall the industry that is already struggling to come out of COVID aftermath.

In a statement issued here, Dewan said that the 20 thousand crore economic package promised by Center has not seen the light of the day; what to talk of fulfilling a promise, “Centre government’s decision is bound to break the backbone of industry”, he said.

Dewan said non-operation of trains is not only affecting import evacuation but also exports, as the industry is unable to produce in the absence of raw material, thus affecting exports. “Industries are facing huge losses which will have adverse repercussions on the entire economy, so centre government must review its decision at the earliest”, said he.

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Citing the example of hosiery industry, Dewan said that with the onset of winters, hosiery sales are to take off from Punjab to different parts of the country and beyond; but the closure of train movement has put a full stop to it. Similar are the woes of other industries, he said.

Yogesh Sagar, President Mohali Industrialists Association who is into fabrication and sheet metal components manufacturing said, “It is indeed a very tough time for industry; labour shortage , COVID impact, financial difficulties and on top of that massive set-back by inhibition on movement of goods-trains. Exporters are foreseeing order cancellations and penalties on failure to deliver goods coupled with credibility loss.” Even domestic orders are hard to meet since transportation via road instead of rail will lead to substantial increase in expenses, rued he. It is expected to be a ‘Black-Diwali’ this season. The COVID hit labourers looking for Diwali bonus now fear losing jobs, the public going out to buy goods/gifts in the market will find things out of reach and the manufacturers have nothing else to look forward except for return of ‘normalcy.’

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Echoing similar sentiments, Sewing Machine Spare Parts manufacturer Bahadur Singh from Bahadur Udyog and Jaswinder Singh Saini from National Steel Industries lamented upon shortage of coal for foundries and goods rake being stuck up in Ambala, Haryana. We have tremendous pressure on the cost part; the raw material prices have gone up, particularly iron-ore/pig iron.

“Right now we are able to manage with our inventories and materials”, said AR Chaudhary from AV Fabrications irked over non-arrival of orders for iron-ore placed in Chattisgarh. We have been forced to buy raw material at ‘premium price’ from the local markets, he said.

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