Amritsar, September 17
Known for the iron and steel industry about a decade ago, the holy city has now only 122 working units against 800.
Loss of the holy city is gain of China imported material, hardware industries based in Jammu and Himachal Pradesh’s Baddi, UP’s Aligarh and Gujarat’s Rajkot, said hardware manufacturer Ranjan Aggarwal.
He said the malady was that no government ever bothered to know the reason behind closure of the industry. He said as a result, the employment generation capacity of the industry also came down from about 50,000 over a decade ago to around 8,000 presently.
The hardware industry here was a leader in the country in manufacturing and supplying screws, nails, fastners, POP screws, bolts and nuts. The city is fast losing its edge of being a domestic market leader in screws and nut and bolts to China, industry watchers have observed.
Samir Goel, another hardware manufacturer, said almost all local hardware units fall under the MSME category. The government must extend support to these units with research and development aid and associate them with engineering colleges. Only then there was a slim chance of their revival, he said.
After the government closed all its laboratories except one in Batala, they do not have any other alternative but to set up one within the unit to test qualities of all kind of steel, he said. “Chinese screws have flooded the Indian market, edging out the city’s leadership position as the screw manufacturing hub of the country,” he said.
“Chinese screw is a little costlier than the domestically manufactured. However, it is still preferred for being superior in quality and strength due to technical upgrade of Chinese small scale industry,” he said.
“To manufacture quality product, the industry needs huge investments. China has upgraded its technology by installing sophisticated and costly heat treatment plants. On the other hand, local MSME plants are being run with obsolete technology with a capacity of handling only 40 tonne raw material,” he said.
“Local industry is entirely dependent upon remote eastern states for raw material needs which only add to its investment cost,” said Goel.
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