The Punjab Congress on Monday dared Revenue Minister Bikram Majithia to a public debate on the alleged decline of medium and small scale industry in the state.
Majithia,by using his political clout,may have procured an all is well certificate from ultra rich corporates like Hero Cycles and the Khanna Paper Mills but he cannot deny the ground realities of the fast declining and near collapse of medium and small scale industry in the state, Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
The ground realities related to industrial growth in Punjab are in gross contradiction to what the SAD-BJP government claims. As per Planning Commission figures,industrial growth in Punjab has shrunk from 15.90 per cent in 2007-08 to 9.19 per cent in 2011-12. Total growth of Punjab has also dropped from 9.05 per cent in 2007-08 to a dismal 5.19 per cent in 2012-13, he added.
Khaira said a close perusal of data pertaining to six important industrial centres Mandi Gobindgarh,Ludhiana,Jalandhar,Goraya,Mohali and Batala will not only belie the claims of the SAD-BJP government but also render the new industrial policy defunct,non-productive and an utter failure.
At Mandi Gobindgarh,of the 650 steel and furnace units,180 have shut down. While 15 to 20 per cent of the manufacturers have put up their furnaces for sale,others have cut down production by 50 per cent… In Batala,of the 2,000 foundries,only 530 cast iron units are now functional. Similarly,only 128 farm implement manufacturing units are functional out of the 550 units, Khaira said.
He added: In Ludhiana,the number of 13,000 knitwear units has come down to 12,000. In Jalandhar,hand tools,leather,sports and rubber industries are facing a severe financial crunch and are on a steady decline. In Mohali too,industrialists are wary of setting up any new units owing to high cost of land and even higher rent charges.