Freight carrier firms as well as factory owners from Tikri-Bahadurgarh say the ongoing farmers’ stir has had a significant impact on business. Owing to traffic jams, freight carriers or trucks transporting goods via Delhi-NCR to other states have been taking alternative routes, leading to delays.
Said Varun Sharma (31), director of Speed Wings Logistics Pvt Ltd, “The NH-8, UP-Haryana borders are closed too, so trucks have had to re-route through the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) or Western Peripheral Expressway around Delhi. There was a truck that was stuck on the KMP for three days.”
Sandeep (32), a traffic operations manager at Caravan Roadways Ltd, which transports PVC from the Kandla and Mundra ports of Gujarat, said, “It is taking a long time for trucks to reach their destination because of traffic on the KMP expressway.”
Many transporters have stopped operations in the area altogether. Umesh Pandey (50), general manager of Vijay Lakshmi Transolutions Pvt Ltd, said, “We have stopped operations in the Punjab-Haryana side where routes are blocked, and are transporting only emergency goods (food and pharmaceuticals), for which we take alternative routes.”
Rampal Singh (42), manager at the ATC Logistical Solutions Pvt Ltd, said, “Our customers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K are not coming at all, and we are not sending any trucks due to the uncertainty.”
However, Pradeep Singhal, chairperson of the All-India Transporters’ Welfare Association, said, “The supply chain has not broken down and there is no shortage Delhi is facing as many trucks are taking detours due to which some delay is inevitable. There has been not much impact.”
Industrialists in the Tikri-Bahadurgarh region, where farmers are protesting on the Delhi-Rohtak road, say they are facing losses as neither raw material or finished goods are getting transported in and out of the area.
Nikhil Lalit (38), who manufactures shoes, said, “Raw material — cloth, rubber, packaging – has stopped coming from Delhi and is steadily getting over.”
While finished products normally leave the factory for the capital daily, this has not been possible since the protest started. “Delhi is the first stop and from there our products go to various areas. Business is down to half and we may need to close the factory if the protest goes on for another week,” he said.
Lalit said he supports the farmers protesting peacefully. “I have not read the farm bills so I cannot comment on it. However, they have been protesting quietly — no damage to property or anything. I am not against that; I am with the farmers.”
Amar Verma (59), owner of a packaging factory, said: “We used to send finished products to Delhi daily; now we are only sending it to local areas here. Raw material is not arriving from UP.”
Verma said he is against such a form of agitation: “This is not a protest, it is blackmail. A protest is not supposed to interfere with someone else’s work.”
Subhash Jagga (65), general secretary of the Bahadurgarh Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said, “This is the peak season for footwear, but raw material is not coming in, nor are finished goods able to go out of the area. Production has reduced by around 60%. Transporters are not sending trucks due to the fear and uncertainty of a clear passage.” He added that labourers are also finding it difficult to arrive from Mundka, and that many hailing from UP and Bihar are leaving, sensing the uncertainty. “I support the farmers but I wish the issue gets resolved soon,” he said.
Arvind Kumar (18), working as a labourer at a shoe factory and hailing from UP’s Shahjahanpur district, was among those heading home:
“Since the protests, work here has reduced, that’s why I am going back.” Ram Kishore (22), who works at a factory in the area and is from UP’s Farrukhabad, said: “I got here a few days ago and I am heading back again. There is a hartal every time — what is the point of staying back?”
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