Opinion

Farmer protests put Punjab in economic crisis

Punjab Tribune Bureau | November 17, 2020 05:37 PM
Punjab Tribune Bureau

CII calls upon Governments and farmer Groups to find solution to current impasse over Farm Bills

VCHANDIGARH: Expressing deep concern over the state of Punjab’s Economy and Industry in the wake of ongoing Economic & Rail Blockade because of agitation by Farmer organisations, CII has issued a fervent appeal to both the Centre and State Governments and also the Farmer organisations to come together and find an amicable solution to end this crisis.

 

The industry in Punjab, already reeling under Covid disruption, has estimated losses in thousands of crores as train services remain suspended. As per Sunder Sham Arora, Punjab Industries and Commerce Minister, a loss of Rs 22,000 crore has been reported for industries in Ludhiana and Jalandhar alone. Even more than 13,500 containers are lying at Dhandari Dry Port and they could not be sent to other parts of the country. According to the state agriculture department, 60,000 gunny bags are stuck in Delhi and Rajpura, thus impacting the lifting of paddy crop from grain markets.

 

The industry is suffering major losses as around 13,000 commercial containers are struck between Ranchi and Punjab. Urging the Union Govt to start train service as it is damaging the Punjab industry, he said that the farmers of Punjab contribute nearly 50 percent of food in the country. The Central Government, along with the State Government, should sit together and resolve the problems of the farmers.

 

Rahul Ahuja, Chairman, CII Punjab State Council and Managing Director, Rajnish International in his statement has said, “In a democracy everyone has a right to represent their cause to peaceful protests and agitation. We understand that farmers may have some reservations with respect to the recently passed farm Acts. However this agitation is now causing economic losses not only to large businesses but is  even impacting the Local Industry, the labour in the factories, Logistic providers, small Kiranas stores who are unable to get the supply , daily wage earners and even small farmers who were selling fresh and processed farm produce through large format stores.

 

Ahuja has stated the more this blockade continues, the more harm it will bring to the overall image of Punjab as an investment & business destination, which the state Governments both the present as well as the earlier had painstakingly tried to build. Industry had already been reeling under stress because of Covid& the lock down imposed earlier this year, the current crisis has further put the local Industry & businesses in extremely fragile position.

 

Bhavdeep Sardana, Vice Chairman, CII Punjab State and Sr VP and CEO, Sukhjit Starch & Chemicals shared that because of the ongoing agitation & blockade the Industry is suffering from all ends, be it the supply of raw material & semi-finished goods to our factories or export bound shipments carrying Basmati, Yarn& Textiles, Hand tools, Sports & Leather Goods and other items stuck at various Inland Container Depots, Container Freight Stations & in transit and now with Power Plants also staring at closure, Industry in the state has come to a virtual halt.

 

Sardana further shared that the current crisis has also adversely impacted the working capital & liquidity in market as the exporters usually receive their payment from customers only after they send them bill of lading copy, which is possible only once the container is loaded in a vessel. Further continuing of this crisis would mean flight of Industry, Investment, Jobs and Capital from Punjab which it can ill afford at this juncture.

 

While making an appeal to the Governments and Farmer Groups, CII has also requested for a meeting with CM Punjab to apprise the Government of the hardships being faced by Industry and businesses in the state and seek help for bringing an end to this crisis.

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