Punjab’s Economic Pulse in Turmoil: Farmers Protest Send Shockwaves Through Local Industries

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Farmers Protest

For the past 13 months, there’s been an ongoing protest against certain agricultural laws. Unfortunately, clashes between the farmers responding to the “Delhi Chalo” call and the Haryana police have led to significant losses for Punjab’s industry, as they try to prevent the farmers from reaching the national capital. In the last two days, memories of a tough time they faced three years ago have resurfaced.

Thousands of protesting farmers are currently on a long march towards Delhi using their tractors and trucks. The industry in Punjab is wary of a repeat of the events from their 2020-21 protest, where roads were blocked, and trains were stopped.

Impact of Farmers Protest on Local Industries:

This prolonged protest against agricultural laws and the conflicts with the Haryana police have taken a toll on the state’s industry. Attempts to stop the farmers from heading to the national capital are causing substantial losses. In the last two days, memories of a challenging time they faced three years ago are coming back. Industry associations report that roadblocks on national highways are affecting the transportation of goods, and the revival of protests is expected to cause losses to industries and businesses in the state.

The President of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), Upkar Singh Ahuja, expressed concern that the industry is already feeling the heat. For instance, in the auto sector, companies supplying auto components to tractor, car, and two-wheeler companies located in other parts of the country are uncertain whether their supply needs will be met on time. “We are already receiving queries,” he said.

Ahuja highlighted the anxiety in the industry due to the risks associated with the ongoing farmers’ protest. He mentioned that the closure of roads and the resulting disruptions in the movement of raw materials and finished goods are causing delays and increased transportation costs. He urged for prompt dialogue between the central government and the farmers to resolve the issues and avoid a repetition of the losses suffered by the state’s industry during the 2020-21 protests.

Despite the non-political nature of the ongoing farmers’ protest led by the United Farmers Front and the Farmers Struggle Workers Front, the situation has intensified with tear gas being used against farmers attempting to enter the state for the Delhi march. Several other farmer groups, not part of the “Delhi Chalo” plan, have decided to conduct protests at railway tracks and toll plazas on Thursday to demonstrate solidarity. While BKU (Ugrahan) has announced its workers will sit on railway tracks at seven locations in Punjab, another group, the United Farmers Front, has decided to free toll plazas for three hours. The industry, particularly in Ludhiana, is concerned about the impact of prolonged disruptions.

Amit Thapar, the Chief of Export Activities for CII Northern Region, commented that blocking railway tracks would have adverse effects, especially for industrial units in Ludhiana. He said, “We were hoping that this agitation would not last long and would not affect the movement of goods, but this is bad news. If these blockades continue, the supply chain will be disrupted. It’s not a good sign for exports.” The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations (FOPSIA) President, Badish Jindal, expressed concern that customers are worried, and the cost of logistics and raw materials is increasing. He emphasized the need for the protest leaders to understand the concerns of the industry in Punjab and find a solution through dialogue.

There are various ways in which the farmers’ protest may affect local industries, including:

Transportation: Delivery of crops may be delayed to an unprecedented degree as a result of the farmers’ protest, which might cause disruptions to transportation routes.
Economic Losses: The farmers’ protest may cause businesses and residents to suffer financial losses, which would have an impact on the state of the economy as a whole.
Disturbances: The protest could impede the regular flow of commodities by causing delays in the transportation of goods.

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