All it took was one hour of rain to bring Ludhiana’s industrial focal point to a standstill on Wednesday. Water entered factories, traffic on focal point roads came to halt and there was no electricity for several hours impacting thousands of units working in eight phases of the focal point.
Rajeev Jain, owner of Rajindra Engineers which makes bicycle parts, said, “Water entered the halls where manufacturing is done. Cartons of raw material have been damaged and exact damage will be assessed when water goes out of the factories.
Our factory is at a lower level than the road, so till the time roads are not cleared, we do not think of our factories will be safe.” Jain has his unit in Phase 5 of focal point.
Gurmeet Singh Kular, president of Federation of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (FICO), said, “I have three units in focal point and water has entered all three of them. One is Darshan Udyog where we make bicycle rims. There is no power. So, we had to send our workers back home in the afternoon soon after it started raining. Power engineers have told us that many insulators have been damaged due to rain. God knows what for they were doing regular maintenance in the past after enforcing a power shut down.”
While there was scattered rainfall in parts of Ludhiana, it rained heavily in the focal point area for about an hour from noon to 1 pm. It drizzled for a few minutes in the city area.
Jain said,”Sewerage is choked in the focal point area and hence this problem of water logging is perennial, but this time we could not even manage our production area.”
Bobby Jindal, general secretary of Punjab dyers association, said, ‘’Water is inside many units of Phase 8 where more than 200 dyeing units are located. Choked sewer is the reason for this for this extensive damage to industry.”
Kular pointed out, ‘’Over 10,000 units are located in focal point and each unit pays a minimum of 10,000 tax per month to municipal corporation in the form of water-sewerage tax, fire cess, property tax, house tax etc. But look at the services which we are getting in return. Jain added, ‘’Corporation repairs or makes new roads in the focal point, but they are putting layer after layer and hence the level of roads is going higher, while factories are staying at a lower level. Also, many units that have high floor level, saw water entering inside.”
FICO chief Kular said that what was needed was a storm sewer in the industrial area.
“We have been asked to give fixed meter charges of power bills for the period when our factories were closed during lockdown. We are being given no relief in paying bank loans, but in return we are getting potholed and waterlogged roads,” said Kular.
Balkar Singh, Mayor, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, said, “Now development works of focal point are to be carried out by Punjab State Industrial Corporation (PSIEC). They are making roads too in focal point. However, sewerage cleaning is our department. We will get it checked as to why choking of the sewer happened today.”
He added,”Our sewerage treatment plants are not working properly and we cannot discharge anything in buddha nallah. Hence, upgradation of STPs is to be done with Rs 650 crores so as to solve this issue.
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