Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], May 27 (ANI): The hosiery industry in Punjab's Ludhiana has been hit by a labour shortage as many of the skilled workers went to their native places during the Covid-19 lockdown and are reluctant to return, with the result that the total annual sales have fallen to a third of pre-Covid figures.
Almost 50-70% of the skilled labourers have returned to their native places, impacting the overall business adversely. It has resulted in a decrease in production and has also impacted the exports.
The labourers had faced great difficulty last year to get back to their homes, and hence, they are now reluctant to return.
"Skilled workers didn't return after first COVID lockdown. We made do with the local labour available at double prices, but with another lockdown, even that has not been able to pull the industry through this crisis. I have never seen such a crisis in the industry," Dinesh Sarpal, a factory owner in Ludhiana told ANI.
The experts of the industry say that this time the goods have become less due to the reduction of 50% to 70% of the physical labour and the buyer are still less due to lockdown in other states of India, due to which retail sale of shops is low and now the orders with the wholesalers and factories are only for the third part of the whole year.
"It seems that sales in the industry which used to be Rs 15,000 crores yearly will be just Rs 4,000 or 5,000 crores this year, which will be the lowest ever for the industry," Sarpal added.
"The labourers worry that they will have to face a situation similar to that the one they faced last year. This combined with the fear of COVID has made the labourers reluctant to return," Akhil Sachdeva, another hosiery unit owner told ANI.
The lockdown is expected to continue till June or July this year, Sachdeva said. He added, "With only 40-50% of skilled labour available, it has been difficult for us to complete even the orders we have in hand." (ANI)