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Local manufacturers demand special package for revival of industrial units

Local manufacturers demand special package for revival of industrial units

Customers visit a unit selling fabricated steel-made material in Amritsar. Photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, March 2

After the state government announced that it was planning to give a special border area industrial package to Pathankot to revive the sagging industrial units, local manufacturers have also sought a similar package for the vanishing and vanished industries of Amritsar, which is also a border district.

Industrialists, associated with vanishing industries like electric fans, carpet, nut bolts, textile and others, have demanded a special package and R&D support to revive them in the holy city.

The once-flourishing processing and dyeing industry has also witnessed a fall with the number of existing industrial units coming down from over 100 units to nearly 30 in this border city. Piara Lal Seth, a leader of the trade and industry, said the industry has fallen on bad days due to the failure of owners to modernise the units and lack of technical and monetary support by the government.

Though the units set up shops after the 1950s, the golden period of textile processing industry was between 1970 and 1990. A majority of these units were located either on the Batala or Majitha road, providing employment to thousands of people. He said the government must take measures to revive it.

The district was once famous for hand-made Persian-style carpets, also called Bukhara style (a place in Iran where the art is quite popular), now the art is on the verge of extinction. Rajasansi, an area in the city, was a hub of such units. European countries and Russia used to be its major customers. The government seems to have never bothered about making any roadmap for the revival of manufacturing units, which could provide employment to thousands of workers.

Satnam Singh, who used to operate a fan manufacturing unit a few years ago, said their number has come down significantly. He demanded that the government must make a proposal to revive the dying units. The local units used to produce a vast range of ceiling, table, exhaust and pedestal fans. Brands like Unison Fans, Universal Fans, Atlas, Grindlay, Neelam and ABC had become household names across the country when the industry was at its peak here. Those associated with the industry gave a slew of reasons for the present crisis. He held that the Central Government’s decision in the early 1990s to withdraw nationwide uniform prices of raw material came as a major blow. As a result, the cost of raw material like iron, steel, coal and copper shot up in this part of the country, which is dependent entirely on other parts of the country for raw material. Consequently, locally manufactured fans became costlier and decade-long militancy gave many a final blow.

Dinesh Mehra, a trader, said by employing hundreds of skilled weavers, the industry has now become a cottage industry. Some families have kept the art alive but they prefer weaving carpets at their houses. He said hand-made products hold an immense export potential so its revival could bring more employment opportunities.

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