Expressing concern over the state of Punjab’s economy in the wake of the economic and rail blockade by farmer organisations, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) urged the Centre and state governments as well as farmers’ organisations to find an amicable solution.
According to estimates by Sunder Sham Arora, Punjab industries and commerce minister, industries in Ludhiana and Jalandhar alone have reported a loss of Rs 22,000 crore. According to the state agriculture department, 60,000 gunny bags are stuck in Delhi and Rajpura, hindering lifting of paddy crop from grain markets.
Rahul Ahuja, chairman, CII Punjab state council and managing director, Rajnish International said, “In a democracy, everyone has the 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 even the local industry, labour in factories, logistic providers, small grocery 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 said the longer this blockade continues, the more harm it will cause to the overall image of Punjab as an investment and business destination, which the state governments, both present as well as previous, had tried to build.
Bhavdeep Sardana, vice chairman, CII Punjab state, said, “The ongoing agitation and blockade has had an adverse effect on all ends, be it the supply of raw material and semi-finished goods to our factories or export-bound shipments carrying basmati, yarn and textiles, hand tools, sports and leather goods and other items stuck in various inland container depots and container freight stations.”
CII also requested for a meeting with the Punjab chief minister to apprise the government of the hardships being faced by theindustry and businesses in the state and seek help to bring the crisis to an end.