New State Industrial Policy gets a thumbs-down from Punjab Industry
Industrialists announces to boycott upcoming Invest Punjab Summit
Chandigarh, February 13
After much delay, the Punjab government has finally announced the new State Industrial Policy. However, the industrialists have given a thumbs-down to the new policy. Terming certain clauses in the new Industrial Policy as “extremely detrimental” for the existing industry, the members of several industrial organizations have held protest demonstrations in Ludhiana – the hub of industry and have also burnt the effigies of Punjab Government for making false promises with the industrial sector in their election manifesto. Extremely perturbed with the government on this issue, several industrial associations have even announced to boycott the upcoming Invest Punjab Summit.
One of the biggest grudges of the industrial association is that the existing industry has been left out from the incentives offered to the new investors. Commenting on the new Policy, Badish Jindal, convenor of All Industries and Trade Forum, said, “In the new policy, the Punjab Government has assured the investors to refund 200 per cent of their investment, up to Rs 4000 per months to their workers, power at the rate of Rs 5, exemption of registration and other charges. If implemented, it will lead to closure of existing industries, as with cheap power, labour benefits and refund of investment the product cost of new industries will be much cheaper in comparison to the existing industries.”
Jindal further pointed out that in its poll manifesto, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had given an assurance to the industry to provide power at a cost of 5 Rs per unit but presently the existing industry is paying Rs 9 to Rs 15 per unit. “The government recently imposed ground water charges for industries. The industries are merely using 1 per cent of total groundwater, whereas on the other hand, farmers are using 50 per cent of groundwater free of cost besides enjoying free power subsidy”, he rued.
Expressing his anger over the new industrial policy, Narinder Bhamra, president of Fasteners Manufacturers Association of India, said that despite the fact that industry is providing 70 per cent employment in the state, the Punjab Government is ignoring the industrial sector. Many industrialists pointed out that AAP Government had assured to resolve the issue of mix land use areas and only five months are left for the deadline of working of industries in these areas but the government is not ready to discuss the issue, which will affect the future of 40,000 industries of Ludhiana alone and 70,000 industries in Punjab.
Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking (CICU), Ludhiana President Upkar Singh Ahuja has also expressed his utter dismay over the new industrial policy. “The industries have decided to boycott the Invest Punjab Summit and the reports of false promises of the government will be sent to all investors of other states as well”, announced Raj Kumar Singla, an industrialist.
It is pertinent to mention here that feeling unsafe to run their industry because of the grim law and order situation in the state, a group of top industrialists from Ludhiana had recently met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressing their desire to invest in UP. Now, this new industrial policy has further irked the industrialists thereby giving more weight to changes of industry migrating from Punjab.
Terming the new industrial policy as a knee jerk reaction and as one which did not provide any incentive to home grown industries, the SAD President Sukhbir Badal has said, “The policy is mere hogwash. There are no quantifiable benefits. It is deliberately opaque on benefits except those to the proposed lone anchor units. There is nothing in the policy which makes it competitive with the policies of the neighbouring States. There is no reason why industry from outside Punjab should invest in the State”.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Industrial Associations of Ludhiana will soon hold a meeting with other Industrial Associations in Jalandhar, Mohali and Amritsar to decide the future course of action against the government. Also, the state general secretary of Punjab Pradesh Vyopaar Mandal Sunil Mehra has condemned the new industrial policy, while assuring his support to industrialists in their future protests.