Micro units backbone of Ludhiana industry

LUDHIANA: The big industrial houses dealing in bicycles, auto-engines, agro-machines and sewing machines here would not be able to survive had there been no micro and small units supplying all kinds of parts to them.

Micro units backbone of Ludhiana industry

Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

editorial@tribune.com

Shivani Bhakoo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 14

The big industrial houses dealing in bicycles, auto-engines, agro-machines and sewing machines here would not be able to survive had there been no micro and small units supplying all kinds of parts to them.

As per rough estimates, there are over 15,000-20,000 micro units in Janta Nagar alone, catering to big industries. Apart from these, there are a large number of units in Sunder Nagar, Moti Nagar, Dashmesh Nagar, Pratap Nagar, Ram Nagar, Shimlapuri and Chet Singh Nagar. Approximately, there are over 50,000 micro units in the city which cater to big industries. The parts supplied by these micro units are used in tractors, sewing machines, bicycles, engines and making T-shirts. 

A majority of these units are either tiny or micro and some of them even operate with a single machine and fall in the unorganised sector. According to insiders, many of these units are not registered with any government department and are unable to get loans. These tiny units manufacture nut bolts, screws, fasteners and tools and supply to small units. Most of these units prefer cash transactions as they are not registered.

However, with the rollout of GST, many of them are finding it difficult to sustain as some of the units in small and medium category refuse to take goods from them as they find it difficult to get input tax credit from unregistered vendors.

Ludhiana is a big supplier of industrial goods across the world. Be it auto parts, sewing machine tools, cycle parts, tractor parts, hardware, agri tools, all these parts are supplied to local big units which are either exported or consumed by domestic markets. The products are exported to countries like the US, Europe, Middle-East, China and Russia etc.

Jaswinder Singh Thukral, president, Janta Nagar Small Manufacturers’ Association, said these micro units are the back-bone of industry in Ludhiana.

“We are supplying goods to huge industries for the past 4-5 decades. But, big industries or the government is unaware about our working conditions or the problems we face,” said Thukral.

Rajinder Singh Kalsi, another manufacturer of agro-parts, said despite all odds, these units are being run to feed big industries. “Poisonous gases are emitted throughout the day in these units. There is no provision for ventilation because of small space. Moreover, they can’t afford to adopt latest techniques.” 

“Their condition can be improved if they get sufficient funds. If loans are provided to them, there can upgrade,” Thukral added.

Moreover, in the absence of Punjabi workers, most of these units depend on migrant population. Mahesh, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh working in auto-parts unit, said he was working in the city for the past 20 years because of wages he was getting. “The employers are dependent on us. In fact, the entire industry is dependent on the migrants but still we are never treated in a respectable manner. There are no labour laws. But, to feed our families, we have to work in such circumstances.”

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