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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Industry protest against steel price hike enters fourth day

Friday was the fourth day of dharna outside the premises of the United Cycles Parts and Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) in Ludhiana, under the banner of 'Voice of industry'.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
Updated: November 6, 2021 8:55:35 am
Ludhiana news, steel price hike, Ludhina steel price hike protest, Punjab news, Steel prices have increased, Indian ExpressDharna by industry outside UCPMA building on Gill Road, Ludhiana.

ON VISHWAKARMA Day, when industry focuses on organising special prayers in factories to remember Vishwakarma, the Hindu god of craft and engineering, they were instead sitting on dharna, demanding a regulatory commission for controlling prices of raw materials like steel, zinc etc.

Friday was the fourth day of dharna outside the premises of the United Cycles Parts and Manufacturers Association (UCPMA) in Ludhiana, under the banner of ‘Voice of industry’.

Manjinder Singh Sachdeva, general secretary of UCPMA, who is leading the dharna said, “This is the voice of industry and hence dharna is not under the banner of UCPMA as problem of raw materials is for one and all…Our industry is left with no working capital. These are hard times for industry and Union government needs to think about us rather than supporting only corporates.”

He added, “Steel prices have increased from Rs 65 a kg to Rs 85 a kg in the past six months. No reason for this arbitrary price hike. Earlier there used to be a regulatory body to determine the prices. We used to get steel on quota as well from district industry centre…it was existing during the Vajpayee government and even during Manmohan Singh government…now simple black bicycle prices have increased to Rs 4,500 which used to be nearly Rs 3,000-3,300 a year ago. Poor man’s ride is getting costlier and sales are dropping.”

Every day, nearly 25-30 industrialists sit for an hour on dharna holding placards seeking regulations in price hike, outside the UCPMA building on Gill Road. “Even on Diwali day, we were sitting on dharna. Had we had funds, we would have celebrated the festival,” said Rajinder Singh Sathali, press secretary of UCPMA. The Knitwear Club, Dyeing Association are also supporting the protest. “This will continue till our voice is not heard. However, we will stay peaceful,” said Sachdeva.

He added, “There were no bright lights this Diwali and small and medium enterprises couldn’t celebrate it the way we used to earlier. It is high time that the industry’s voice is heard. Union government is all for corporate houses as of now. It is perhaps after a long time that industry has raised voice against corporates on lines of farmers.”

However, Sachdeva added, “We will not be following any rail roko or traffic jams. However, our voice is also against the corporate houses which are killing small and medium units. Government has slashed excise duty on fuel out of compulsion after suffering defeat in bypolls. But this is not going to benefit our industry much as many other factors are killing it. Steel prices are on top of it.”

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