Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], October 20 (ANI): Goods worth thousands of crores are stuck at the dry port and on the railway tracks of Ludhiana since September 30 owing to the ongoing protest by the Punjab farmers against the new farm laws, adversely affecting the supply chain, the customs house agents have said.
"No trains are running to and from Ludhiana since September 30. This has blocked cargo supplies. We're unable to process export orders," Rajesh Verma, President of Ludhiana Customs House Agents Association, has told ANI.
Verma adds that Ludhiana is the largest dry port in North India after Delhi, transporting 20,000 containers every month. "Goods worth around Rs 4,500 crore, meant for export, are either stuck at the dry port or on the railway tracks. As far as the import is concerned, goods and raw material worth around Rs 7,500 crore are not reaching Ludhiana. If we add these, a total of around Rs 13,000-crore-worth goods are stuck," Verma says, adding many small-scale industries in Punjab are on the verge of shutting shops due to this.
Among the industries being affected are bicycle, hosiery, rice processing, leather, engineering goods, cotton, tractor parts and the hand-tool industry.
He adds if the goods are not cleared before the upcoming festivals of Dussehra and Diwali, several businesses will be ruined completely.
Verma goes on to say that even the government has suffered a loss of around Rs 300 crore in revenue so far. "The government is unable to understand that it (the protest) is affecting the industries in Punjab. The importers and exporters have started looking for greener pastures outside Punjab like Rajasthan or Delhi. It will add to more revenue loss for the government. Once the work of Punjab goes to Rajasthan or Delhi, the state may suffer a huge revenue loss of about Rs 15 lakh crore."
"Therefore, the government should seriously think about this and talk to the farmers as soon as possible because thousands of families are connected with the industries. We have been talking to the government, but it is not showing any seriousness," he adds.
He further says, "In the wake of the COVID-19, the whole world has gone against China and there are growth opportunities for the Indian industries, but the railway blockade is snatching the possibility away."
Auto-parts exporter Surinder Abrol says that due to the0 ongoing farmers' protest, none of his goods could be exported this month, as a result, they incurred losses in crores. "Also our manufacturing has stopped because the raw material is not available due to the "Rail Roko" protest," he says, adding this is the second time in the year that they have been affected.
"Our work had stopped for around a month during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, but now we are facing a bigger loss, which we will not be able to recover for a long time... If the industries are affected in Punjab, it will add to unemployment."
Another exporter, Rishi Gupta, owner of Kova Fasteners Pvt. Ltd, echoes Abrol: "Our company has been in the export business for the last 20 years and most of our trade is with America and Europe. Due to the protest of the farmers, our goods are stuck. The government should think about not just the farmers, but the industries as well," he says. (ANI)