Amid political battle in Sirsa, industrial progress put on back burner : The Tribune India

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Amid political battle in Sirsa, industrial progress put on back burner

Amid political battle in Sirsa, industrial progress put on back burner

In Haryana, the Sirsa constituency is poised for a key electoral battle on May 25 between BJP's Ashok Tanwar and Congress's Kumari Selja. Despite its political significance, the development issues in Sirsa, especially industrial decline, remain secondary.



Anil Kakkar

Sirsa, May 15

In Haryana, the Sirsa constituency is poised for a key electoral battle on May 25 between BJP's Ashok Tanwar and Congress's Kumari Selja. Despite its political significance, the development issues in Sirsa, especially industrial decline, remain secondary.

Historically, Sirsa was known for its thriving agriculture-based industries. Before and after India's Independence, numerous factories operated in Sirsa. However, over time, the industrial activity declined sharply. It had eight large factories in the early 1980s, but now, only one remains. Sirsa's once-flourishing small-scale agricultural equipment manufacturing and handloom industries, including 168 traditional footwear units in 1981, have also dwindled. Major factories like Gopichand Textile Mill and BG Finance and Industry Limited, which once provided substantial employment and economic output, have shut down due to adverse government policies.

Geographically the largest district in Haryana, Sirsa excels in wheat, cotton and kinnow production. Despite these agricultural advantages, the industrial sector is on the decline. In 1981, Sirsa boasted 12 mustard oil production units and 52 oil presses, exporting significant quantities abroad. A cotton ginning and pressing factory in Ding Mandi started with a substantial investment in 1981 but eventually shut down.

According to local businessman Sandeep Arora, a major issue is the lack of private employment opportunities, partly due to the absence of an industrial zone in Sirsa. The situation is perplexing given Sirsa's status as a cotton cultivation hub, with 36 out of 140 cotton ginning factories in Haryana located here. Additionally, 12,000 hectares of kinnow orchards offer potential for kinnow processing plants.

The number of small and cottage industries in Sirsa has fallen dramatically from 6,736 in 1997 to less than 2,000 today. Despite rapid progress in the last decade, around 4,500 industries have closed down.

BJP candidate Ashok Tanwar has promised to focus on agro-industry and local employment if elected, while Congress candidate Kumari Selja emphasises on industrial development and employment opportunities for farmers and women. The current data from Dinesh Kumar, Assistant Director, MSME, Sirsa, shows that there are 18,095 micro industries, 353 small-scale industries and 37 medium-scale industries.

#BJP #Congress #Kumari Selja #Sirsa


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