Covid-19: Aligarh lock industry hit hard by lockouts, calls for urgent help

The Aligarh lock industry which employs nearly 1.5 lakh of skilled and unskilled workers has demanded swift action from Yogi Adityanath’s government for its “rebirth” in the face of the continuing hardship intensified by the lockdowns.

Severely thwarted by the demonetization and digitization that followed, the sector suffered a severe blow from the GST as it is still largely disorganized and lacks resources to introduce online accounting, complained stakeholders from the GST. ‘industry.

This, combined with rising electricity costs, raw material costs, and competition from low-priced Chinese products in the market, has put severe pressure on the industry which comprises around 6,500 artisan-scale units. operating in the traditional routine of production for six days and sell The seventh.

To meet the immediate needs of the industry, the secretary of the Aligarh Industrial Zone Manufactures Association, Dinesh Chand Varshney, sent a memorandum to the chief minister, informing him of the situation.

Laghu Udyog Bharti chairman Gaurav Mital said members of his organization last week told the chief minister about the crisis facing the Aligarh lock industry during a video conference.

“There has been a sudden rise in the prices of all raw materials in the past two months, but the market is not ready to accept an increase in our finished products,” Vijay Kumar Bajaj, owner of one of the larger and older units here, mentioned.

“The government has a major role in steel pricing and it must intervene with urgent corrective measures,” he said.

Around 40 years ago, this industry was largely based on traditional technology, but in the face of challenges from other countries, especially China, a number of local manufacturers “adopted the latest technology to compete with the best.” , noted Bajaj.

Although he and a few others made conscious efforts to keep pace with the changing times, many had to go out of business because they preferred traditional methods.

Naseem Ahmad, who successfully led a unit in the Upper Kot region for more than four decades, was forced to close about three years ago due to new challenges.

Speaking of the industry’s woes, Ahmed said, “Most of the old small-scale units were operating on traditional lines and virtually no paperwork. They were making for six days and on the seventh day they would send their goods to nearby Delhi. and get cash payments. Thousands of people have survived thanks to this system. “

“Most units were getting by one way or another, but the COVID-19 pandemic posed a new challenge and delivered the final blow,” lamented Ahmed, a former president of the Manufacturers Association. locks of Aligarh.

“The first blow was demonetization, followed by so-called digitization, which unorganized entrepreneurs couldn’t cope with. Then came the GST, which dealt a blow to unorganized units that did not have the resources to introduce online accounting, ”he added. he added.

A major factor leading to the closure of cottage-scale units is the sharp increase in electricity costs in the state, Ahmed said.

“Last year’s foreclosure has been sort of overcome by those with a solid financial base, but the current foreclosure and sluggish market is like the end of the world,” he added.

Uttar Pradesh State Secretary and District President Udyog Vyapaar Mandal Pradeep Ganga said the government should immediately issue orders to banks to stop disbursements on all loans until August 31 .

“Otherwise, it would deal a fatal blow to all who operate on bank financing,” Ganga said, adding that the Vyapar Mandal also demanded a special financial package for all units.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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