New normal

Jalandhar's sports industry battles post-lockdown blues

Industrialists rue lack of support from govt | Face shortage of raw material amid crisis

Jalandhar's sports industry battles post-lockdown blues

Aakanksha N Bhardwaj

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 23

A town of great antiquity, Jalandhar is world famous for its sports industry. Goods manufactured here are supplied across the length and breadth of the country as well as abroad.

However, when the lockdown was imposed in view of the Covid outbreak, just like every other sector, the sports industry was badly affected, and is still struggling hard to be back on track.

Ravinder Dhir, a manufacturer and trader of sports items, says the industry had a tough time during the lockdown, but the ordeal has not ended here. “The actual impact of the pandemic will be seen now. Sports items are a luxury, so no one wants to purchase these amid the uncertain situation. We have seen tough times in the past seven months and the situation is nowhere becoming normal in the coming days,” he said, adding besides gym equipment, no other sports item was in demand.

Traders said raw material for certain sports equipment was procured from other states. Wood for making cricket bats came from Kashmir and solid cane from Singapore. For indoor games such as carrom board, wood was procured from nearby states. But owing to the restrictions in the past, the supply had been badly affected. The cost of raw material had also escalated.

One of the traders said although demand for certain products had started picking up pace, they were facing a shortage of raw material. “Neither the state government nor the Centre has extended support to the industry. Several state, national and international sports events have been cancelled amid the pandemic. Children who would play cricket with their friends now do not venture out as part of safety measures. The sale of items remain negligible,” he said.

“To add to our problems, the Excise and Taxation Department has started sending us notices to submit C-forms. We are already suffering because of the current situation, but the government has opted to turn a blind eye to our woes,” rued an industrialist.

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