Mohali industrial units languishing under long power cuts

December 14th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali (Punjab), Dec 14 (IANS) Besides grappling with the global economic meltdown that has crippled industries all across the world, industrial units in Punjab’s Mohali district have also to cope with one more crisis - prolonged power cuts. The Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) recent decision to impose 34-hour mandatory power cut per week has left most industrial units in the Mohali industrial area in lurch.

“Industrialists here are the victims of poor planning and lack of far-sightedness of the government. If the situation continues, very soon the whole industrial area will wither away as many industries have already started to shift to other states,” Mohali Industrial Association (MIA) president B.S. Anand told IANS.

The Mohali industrial area, around 10 km away from Chandigarh, has over 1,200 small-scale and large-scale industries that employ nearly 100,000 people. Most of the companies here are in the field of manufacturing engineering goods and automobile parts.

“Our politicians are playing vote-bank politics here. They know that most of the workers here come from other states so they are just ignoring the basic needs of the area,” Anand said.

The Mohali industrial area was already reeling under a compulsory 24-hour weekly power cut. The PSEB’s decision to increase this to 34 hours - from Saturday 8 a.m. to Sunday 6 p.m. - has only added to their woes.

Earleir, the PSEB had imposed a 48-hour weekly power cut, but the decision was withdrawn following widespread protests from industrialists.

“Many industries have already shifted to Baddi (industrial area in Himachal Pradesh) or have opened their expansion units there,” Anand said.

He added that industrialists from Ludhiana and Jalandhar were also interested in Baddi “because of the appropriate power supply and better subsidy and incentives given by the Himachal government to its industrialists”.

“There has been a decline of 40 percent business in the last four months. We are unable to meet the deadlines. In such a scenario, how can one expect us to compete with rising economies like China,” A.D. Behl, who is running a unit that manufactures precision instruments, told IANS.

Behl added: “This 34-hour (power cut) is a mere eyewash. It will waste our two days. We cannot keep generators as an alternative option because they will increase the financial burden and, moreover, cannot provide the right amount of power load.”

The Mohali industrialists said the state government was not taking any initiative to help the industries, but was busy welcoming shopping malls and star hotels in the industrial area here.

“This decision is bound to fail as there is no adequate water supply, power supply and roads are in bad shape. Moreover, this area is meant only for industries and by mooting such proposals, the government is killing the industries,” said Anurag Kalsi, an industrialist.

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