The supply of bicycles to different states under various schemes has come down significantly during the past one year, thereby giving jitters to manufacturers in the city. Ludhiana is considered to be a hub of bicycle industry with major units present here.
While the number of cycles manufactured for state government across the country was 26 lakh three years ago, it has come down to 22 lakh this year. Manufacturing of cycles for government sponsored schemes for economically weaker section of students is one of the major consumers for the cycle industry of Ludhiana.
Industry claims that laptops instead of bicycles being provided by many state governments have caused this decrease in consumption of bicycles in these states. Many state governments including Odhisa, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and others have started providing laptops to poor students under schemes.
Interestingly, major cycle manufacturers have also started units in Bihar where the consumption of bicycles is maximum in the country. Hero Cycles Limited started a cycle manufacturing plant in Bihar this year that would cater to the needs of the region. Avon cycles is also likely to start production at its plant anytime now at its unit at Hajipur in Bihar.
“Many major cycle manufacturers have moved to other states which too has reduced the number of orders for Ludhiana cycle industry. This, in turn, impacts the state’s exchequer indirectly,” said Charanjit Singh Vishivkarma, president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturer Association.He said while the cycle industry used to get an order of more than 25 lakh bicycles some years back, but this year the number of orders of cycles has reduced to nearly 22 lakh from different state governments.The largest order was received from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka this year with a total of about 6,00,000 bicycles.
Assembly elections in a number of states states as well as the lok sabha elections was also considered to be a major cause of lesser orders this year as the government’s could not place orders in wake of model code of conduct.
State governments have started various schemes to stop the dropout rate in government schools under which bicycles are distributed free of cost to the students. Bihar started the scheme under the Mukhyamantri Balika Cycle Yojana while the Uttar Pradesh government named it Mahila Samakhya. On the other hand, Odhisa had launched a scheme last year which was named ‘Youth Policy’ in which free laptops were distributed to meritorious students.
Even the Punjab government had given an order of 1.5 cycles to the cycle industry in Ludhiana. Hero Cycles Limited provided more than 8 lakh cycles to state governments this year.