Ahead of poll, BJP, AAP pull out all stops to woo ailing Punjab industry : The Tribune India

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Ahead of poll, BJP, AAP pull out all stops to woo ailing Punjab industry

Nirmala Sitharaman, Arvind Kejriwal interact with captains, promise them the moon

Ahead of poll, BJP, AAP pull out all stops to woo ailing Punjab industry

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman being greeted by local industrialists ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. PHOTO: HIMANSHU MAHAJAN



Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, May 28

The ruling parties at the Centre and in Punjab – the BJP and the AAP – respectively, have pulled all stops to woo the ailing industry in the state, especially Ludhiana, which is the industrial hub of the north, before the June 1 election.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held separate closed-door interactions with the captains of trade and industry here on Tuesday. Both the leaders promised the moon to the business community.

Rs 40K-crore cycle, spinning industry hopes for better days

  • The Rs 40,000-crore spinning and cycle industry, the biggest and oldest in Ludhiana, is hoping for better days ahead. Presently, like most other industries, the trade is in a flat spin, courtesy the policies crafted by the government
  • One of the biggest employment generators with more than 13-lakh employees working in about 78 units, the trade has an annual turnover of over Rs 40,000 crore, which comprises Rs 10,500 crore as export sales

While both leaders accused the rival parties for the ills being faced by the industry, the industrialists and businessmen raised their issues and demands before the BJP and AAP top leaders.

Urging the business honchos to join hands with the BJP to get out of a “bad” phase in Punjab, Sitharaman called for a ramp-up in domestic manufacturing to make India self-reliant and boost the country’s participation in global value chains.

“You can see the difference between Punjab and BJP-ruled states, wherever there is a double engine government, the trade and industry are prospering but the situation is really bad in Opposition-ruled states,” the FM argued.

Onkar Singh Pahwa, CMD of Avon Cycles; DS Chawla, president, United Cycles and Parts Manufacturers Association (UCPMA); and Upkar Singh Ahuja, president, Chamber of Commercial and Industrial Undertakings (CICU) were among the prominent faces at Sitharaman’s industry outreach.

Claiming that the AAP had done a lot for the industry, Kejriwal said prior to 2022, the condition of business and industry in Punjab was so bad that the industries here were leaving Punjab and going to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal , Rajasthan and other surrounding states.

“Within the last 2 years, the trend of industries leaving Punjab has stopped and new industries are coming to the state,” he said, adding that the Bhagwant Mann-led state government had already got investments worth Rs 56,000 crore and foreign companies were also buying land for setting up industries here. He cited that after Jamshedpur, Tata Steel’s biggest plant was now being set up in Ludhiana.

The Rs 40,000-crore spinning and cycle industry has pinned hopes for a fair deal and better days ahead. Presently, the spinning and bicycle industries, the biggest and oldest in Ludhiana, like most other industries, are in a flat spin, courtesy the policies crafted by the government.

One of the biggest employment generators with more than 13-lakh employees working in about 78 units, the trade has an annual turnover of over Rs 40,000 crore, which comprises Rs 10,500 crore as export sales.

Though not willing to come on record, most of the industry captains The Tribune spoke to, seemed upset with successive governments turning a blind eye to their issues and demands.

“We are least concerned about which party or bloc forms the next government at the Centre. Our hope and desire is that the new regime should address our issues and come to our rescue. Even as all major political parties, including the BJP, AAP, Congress and SAD, have been regularly interacting with industry, the main issues afflicting the business and trade remain unresolved,” said a leading businessman.

With a total installed capacity of 42 lakh spindles producing yarn worth Rs 28,000 crore every year, the spinning industry, having 10 large-scale units and 50 MSMEs, in the industrial and business hub of the north, also provides indirect employment to 3 lakh people.

With 18 main units, including seven large-scale ones, the bicycle industry also has almost 4,000 medium and small-allied units, a majority of which are under the unorganised sector and are dealing in repair and spare parts.

Even though the spinning and bicycle industries play a key role in the financial and economic growth of the city and the entire region, they are passing through a major crisis primarily due to duty and tax anomalies, say leading industrialists.

Mainly producing cotton yarn, polyester spun yarn and poly/cotton yarn, Ludhiana’s spinning industry exports goods worth Rs 7,000 crore every year to various countries, while its domestic business aggregates not less than Rs 21,000 crore per annum.

The bicycle industry here mainly manufactures roadster, premium and electric bicycles, both for children and adults with annual turnover of Rs 12,000 crore. This comprises Rs 3,500 crore of export business, while the lighter and premium components based on cost and quality, which are not manufactured here, worth Rs 2,000 crore are also imported by the local industry every year.

Providing employment to 10 lakh people, the bicycle industry has employed 5 lakh persons each in manufacturing and value chain. Aggrieved over what they allege as a raw deal by the government, several industrialists are in talks with other states and UTs to explore shifting or expanding their businesses outside.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Arvind Kejriwal #BJP #Nirmala Sitharaman


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