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ASSOCHAM for immediate resolution to farmers’ agitation, says Punjab can incur 15 lakh-cr losses

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Jalandhar, November 3, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The rice bowl of India – Punjab can incur massive losses to the tune of around Rs 15 Lakh Core if ongoing protests by farmers against Centre’s new Farm Laws in the state are not brought under control, more so as the ongoing crisis would only help other nearby states of Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan thereby leading to rise in growth of their trade, apex industry body ASSOCHAM said today.

As per recent analysis by a leading research firm TecSci Research, it is estimated that the goods worth around INR 4500 crore, which need to be exported are stuck at transporting stations. Moreover, imports of nearly INR 7500 crore have not reached Ludhiana, making the total value of stuck goods at nearly INR 13,000 crore due to ongoing situations. In addition, government has also incurred revenue losses of INR 300 crore.

Furthermore, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal stated that Punjab will alone suffer losses of INR 4,000 crore every year due to the legislations.

As farmers’ agitation against the farm bill passed by the central government continues, the impact of these agitations shows hugely on the industry that recently opened up after a long lockdown period.

Mr Amrit Sagar Mittal, regional chairman, ASSOCHAM said “In a democracy everyone has a right to represent their cause to peaceful protests and agitation. We understand that farmers may have some genuine reservations with respect to the recently passed farm Acts.

However, this agitation is now causing economic losses not only to large businesses but also small Kiranas who are primary customers. This has also led to job losses to the daily wage earners who were mostly employed indirectly as third-party logistics provider. Most of our businesses are also selling fresh and processed farm produce. The month-long agitation has also impacted the income of small farmers to our businesses.”

Sharing his views, Mr Deepak Sood, secretary general, ASSOCHAM said, “This ongoing agitation has impacted a lot in the shipping costs, especially being in a land locked state like Punjab. There is a major shortage of empty containers coming in and likewise in shipping out the goods by train.

The option to transport through trucks is expensive and it gets tough to work on lesser margins for units based in Punjab state. Also, there are bottlenecks created on major highways at some points due to the dharnas.

The state and national highways road condition could deteriorate in the coming months as there is no toll being collected at the toll plazas since over a month; and those authorities will think twice before investing into new projects in our state if such unrests keep continuing. On behalf of our membership, I would urge all stakeholders to resolve this roadblock as soon as possible.”

Mr Kulvin Seehra, chairman, ASSOCHAM Punjab State Council added “We do appreciate the efforts made by the Government of Punjab in trying to find a resolution to the issues being raised by the farmers.

However, the farmers’ agitation continues unabated impacting our businesses and the livelihoods of thousands of those who are dependent on all our businesses. They continue to sit on dharnas in front of our business establishments making it impossible for us to operate.”

Punjab industry continues to suffer raw material pangs due to non-movement of goods trains amid farmers’ agitation even after relief in industrial operations post covid19 lockdown. According to private logistics operators, around 15 rakes (trains) are stuck at different locations. The crisis is not only affecting import evacuation but also exports, as the industry is unable to produce in the absence of raw material, thus affecting exports.

Industries that are likely to be impacted due to the agitation of Punjab farmers are rice processing, leather, tractor parts, cotton, hosiery, bicycle, engineering goods and hand tool industry. Also, there is gap created in the supply chain within the state, especially in case of fruits & vegetables market, milk and poultry products.

The ‘rail roko’ stir of the farmers had caused huge financial losses to the industry, thus compounding the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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