Ludhiana sports industry seeks foreign investment for its survival

January 13th, 2009 - 11:25 pm ICT by ANI  

By Karan Kapoor
Ludhiana, Jan.13 (ANI): Punjabs sports goods industry is presently undergoing a difficult face following a global slowdown. It believes that foreign direct investment can prove to be a saviour and help the industry. The global meltdown has its impact on Indian sports goods industry with export orders going down by more than 30 per cent. The sports industry of Punjab has already suffered a loss of over 10 million dollars. Over 50,000 people involved in this industry here are presently facing a risk to their jobs. Having existed for almost a century the States Jalandhar sports industry, the hub of 65 per cent of India’’s export, seeks foreign investment. It exports sports goods worth 100 million USD annually but is now waiting for support to compete with popular sports brands. Vijay Dheer, the President of sports industry in Jalandhar, said: The sports industry in Jalandhar city is sinking right now but if the foreign investment comes here it will be like oxygen for the industry and the sports industry will get an opportunity to stand on its feet once again. And I”m very optimistic of foreign investment coming here because all the sports items are manufactured here and quality-wise these items are good. The foreign investors will also get the cost benefit here, as they will get better quality at cheaper rates. Punjab manufacturers supporting foreign direct investment believe it will fulfill their thrust to imbibe foreign technology in manufacturing latest sports goods. Lalit Sahni, a sports goods manufacturer, said: Foreign investment will bring latest technology. And this will help us in eradicating flaws in the manufacturing. Today, our share in the world market is very less because we are not able to produce many items required in foreign market. With foreign players entering, we will get latest technology in manufacturing the goods, now in great demand in the world market. It will help increase our exports and benefit the country in generating more revenue.
Ashok Soni, another sports goods manufacturer, said: We demand that the government should make a law [provision] allowing foreign companies to have direct investment with us (domestic sports manufacturers). If you have such a law both the domestic and the foreign clients can benefit out of it. These days the exporters keep our margin. The industry is into manufacturing sports accessories of games like cricket, hockey, football and volleyball. It has nearly 1000 units with almost 50,000 workers directly or indirectly involved. Forty per cent of the produce is exported while the rest is sold in the domestic markets. India is trying all possible ways to shore up growth against the impact of the global financial crisis. It has taken a host of steps including sharp rate cuts. India’’s potential to sustain growth has already lured foreign players. And for those who wish to make foray into the Indian market, it’’s the best time. India is a suitable manufacturing hub, with readily available skilled manpower and infrastructure. (ANI)

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