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Groaning under high electricity bills, Pune SME threatens to hit streets

As the automobile sector witnessed good growth, orders came in for the SMEs in the Pune region who form the vast ecosystem of the region’s industrial landscape. Return of migrant workers had eased their labour pangs and production had started to touch the pre-covid times.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: January 21, 2021 11:40:12 am
Pune news, Pune electricity board,Pune SME, Pune high electricity bills, Indian expressVarious organisations have decided to hit the streets and keep their operations suspended for a day if the government goes ahead with its plan. (Representational)

Small and medium scale industries in Pune have threatened to hit the streets if the state government decides to go on with their order of compulsory recovery of pending electricity bills. Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri Chinchwad Small and Medium scale industries association, said the steep increase in raw material prices and high electricity charges has almost undone the favourable business atmosphere sphere they were noticing post the unlocking.

The SME sector in Pune has witnessed good revival as bullish trends in terms of orders. As the automobile sector witnessed good growth, orders came in for the SMEs in the Pune region who form the vast ecosystem of the region’s industrial landscape. Return of migrant workers had eased their labour pangs and production had started to touch the pre-covid times.

But the rising cost of raw material in the form of steel had concerned the sector with many units even temporarily suspending operations in view of the same. Belsare mentioned steel prices have more than doubled in the last few months, which has thrown a serious challenge before the units. “The orders were drawn up on the basis of the old cost of raw material but those prices are not viable,” he said. With the re-negotiation of order prices not being possible, many units are at a crossroad on how to fulfil them.

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While the industry was grappling with inflated raw material costs, the state government’s directive of compulsory recovery has come as a huge set back to the sector. “The bills were inflated and many units which did not have any operations were slapped with astronomical bills. Instead of helping a sector to stand, the government has decided to finish off what evergreen shoots we had seen,” he said

Maharashtra’s high cost of production Abhay Bhor, president of Forum of Small Scale Industries, said it has made the SMEs loose out of the market. “As against the Rs 3,000/- for 400 units charged in Delhi we have to pay Rs 10,000. This high cost of production is making us non-competitive,” he said. Bhor claimed that around 300 units have shifted base to other states where the government is more conducive towards the sector.

Various organisations have decided to hit the streets and keep their operations suspended for a day if the government goes ahead with its plan of recovery of pending bills. “There is no other way,” said Belsare

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