Ludhiana: Industrialists raise concerns with Som Parkash

Raakhi Jagga
Union Minister Som Parkash at the seminar in Ludhiana on Sunday. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Som Parkash, who is a BJP MP from Hoshiarpur, on Sunday met industrialists from Punjab in Ludhiana and listened to their concerns. The meeting was organised by Chamber of Industrial and Commerce Undertakings (CICU).

During the interaction with the minister, chairman of the North Indian Plywood Manufacturers Association, Naresh Tiwari, demanded concession in bank interest rates for plywood industry as it is an agro-based industry.

Ashok Juneja, vice-president of CICU and chairman of Punjab Plywood Manufacturers Association, said, We are increasing prices of plywood by 10 per cent as there is extreme shortage of raw material eucalyptus and poplar wood to the industry. Hence we urge the Union government to stop giving new licences to agro-based industry for the time being.

CICU secretary Pankaj Sharma, said that the industry was extremely concerned about business with Bangladesh . He said: Export of bicycles and bicycle parts to Bangladesh is declining in the past three years. Reason: Bangladesh can send their goods in Indian market at zero duty, however they have imposed heavy duty on import of bicycle and bicycle parts. This disparity needs to be discussed with Bangladesh government in order to give a boost to export of bicycles and parts to Bangladesh. In addition to this, import duty in European Union (EU) for Made in India bicycles is 14.5 per cent while for Bangladesh and Sri Lanka the same is zero. Thus export base is shifting to these countries. The bilateral agreement between Indian and EU needs to be reviewed.

Sachit Jain, another CICU member, said, We need reforms in labour laws which must include flexible working hours, less paper work and less government interference.

Industrialists also spoke about recent fluctuation in steel prices to the tune of Rs 7,000 per ton due to cartel of big steel manufacturers . Som Parkash assured industrialists on the changes in labour laws as he said that new labour policy was around the corner.

Industrialists, however, felt that during his first visit, the minister did not make any promise and only reiterated that since he was from Punjab, he understood their problems.