Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 18
The ‘rail roko’ protest by Punjab farmers has interrupted supplies. Consequently, industrial production in the state has shrunk by 30 per cent. A severe shortage of raw material has hit the auto parts, hand tools, machine tools, bicycle, agricultural implements and scaffolding industry.
“The protest has caused a severe disruption in supplies. At least six textile industries have closed operations. In the engineering industry alone, the production is down 20-30 per cent,” said SC Ralhan, president of the Ludhiana Hand Tools Association, pointing out that freight traffic had been held up for the past two weeks.
“For the bicycle industry, the prolonged agitation has resulted in a severe shortage of inputs, such as rims and pipes. The manufacturers were already grappling with a huge pending demand post lockdown. The farmers’ stir has made it worse for them,” said Pankaj M Munjal, Chairman, HMC, a Hero Motors Company.
Upkar Singh Ahuja, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, said the manufacturers dependent on imported raw material had been hit most, with their containers of raw material stuck at Punjab’s dry ports. Unable to meet the orders, they feared these might now be cancelled.
The industry has sought government’s intervention to address the issue. “We have requested the Bhartiya Kisan Union and other farmer organisations to support the industry by allowing goods trains to run,” Badish Jindal, president, Federation of Punjab Small Industries Association, said.