The jaggery business is flourishing in Gurdaspur district. The roadside jaggery units are doing brisk business and more than locals, people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are interested in the trade.
A number of migrants have taken small areas of sugarcane farms of the locals on contract and producing jaggery from roadside makeshift units. Besides selling the product to commuters, the jaggery producers also get orders from shopkeepers and sometimes wholesale dealers.
Kulwant Singh, a farmer from Dinanagar, said that migrants from UP and Bihar were expert in making jaggery. "Giving their sugarcane farms on contract to these migrants also suits farmers. Selling sugarcane to sugar mills is a cumbersome process," he said.
Radhey Shyam, a Uttar Pradesh resident, who runs a jaggery unit near Dinanagar, said that though the job was hard but his group makes good profit from the trade. "We work in two shifts and live in tents during the winters till the jaggery season is over. Our sales go up if winter is harsh," he said.