With no end in sight to the border protest at Singhu, which has been met with heavy police barricading, local industries in Kundli say they are facing a hard time transporting raw material as well as finished goods. With the main road blocked, they say, heavy vehicles are relying on smaller village roads, many of which are not equipped to handle such load.
Anuj Pahal (31), owner of a domestic appliance industry at Kundli, said: “Inflow of raw material and transportation of finished material has been hit. Trucks have to travel longer, especially after police put up extra barricades following Republic Day and now they have to take a longer route around the villages. This has increased costs.”
“I don’t necessarily blame the farmers. If the government had passed laws regarding the industrial sector without consulting us, we may have been forced into the same position,” he said.
Nagesh Kumar Singh, the general manager of a local transport hub, where companies send their goods to be transported, said, “In November, around 50 trucks used to come and go daily. Now barely 5-7 make it as the roads are not there. Business is down by around 75% and the company is planning to shift from here.”
The monthly rent of the warehouse is more than Rs 4 lakh, said another manager there. Singh, a resident of Narela, however, said he was with the farmers as he too is from the same community.
“What used to take around 10 minutes to traverse now takes over an hour,” said Satender Kumar (45), the store in-charge of a textile company at Kundli.
“We have goods going as far as Mumbai… Increase in time means transportation costs go up. Our workers are also struggling to travel to and from work,” he said.
Staff such as Nisha Bharti (23), working as a cost accountant at a textile company, is among those facing a daily hurdle. Bharti, who lives in Rohini, said, “It used to take me around half an hour to commute to work; now it takes two. I take the bus and then walk around 3 kilometres from the barricades to get here.”
Subhash Gupta (69), president of the Kundli Industries Association, representing 976 members, said, “How will goods be transported, and labour move if big routes are closed? Narrow roads of the villages are not adequate. Many industries supply to larger ones that have strict deadlines, and with transportation facing difficulty, a lot of orders get cancelled.”
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