Comments of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, in which he promised special package for promotion of industry in Ludhiana, has drew mixed reactions from across the industry.
Many members believe that industry could get a boost if Modi fulfills his promises, while others think that he has no specific plans for Ludhiana.
While in Ludhiana for a rally on Friday, Modi said he would develop skill so that industry prospers in the city. He also promised an industrial package for Punjab. After being at the centre Congress government didn't extend it to the state in January this year. The package was extended to Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh that was criticised by Ludhiana industry.
Modi stated that if India wanted to compete with a country like China, then cities like Ludhiana should be promoted so that industrial development takes place.
However, Ludhiana-based industrialists have reacted to the promises in a different way. Some of them say that Modi seems to be impressed with the cotton belt in Malwa region and has no knowledge about the problems being faced by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Ludhiana.
Knitwear and Apparel Manufacturers' Association president Sudarshan Jain said, “Modi talked about value addition in his speeches. He also talked about the situation of cotton belt in the state. If the condition of cotton belt improves, it will improve the condition of hosiery and textile products and will be beneficial for the respective industry,”
Jain also said state government was focusing on rural areas, but it was a fact that industry drives the economy of a country and the governments should strive hard to improve the condition of the industry.
Industry in Ludhiana had been demanding perks, including special incentives and rebate on taxes so that an impetus could be given to the units that are planning to flee from Punjab. Although promises by Modi have given some hope, there is also a feeling among the industry members that specific plans and not promises were required at this point of time.
Knitwear Club secretary Charanjiv Singh said, “False promises are being made by the SAD as well as BJP leaders to the industrialists of Ludhiana. They do not have any plan to upgrade the infrastructure of industry in Ludhiana and talk about competing with China and Japan.”
He also said state and central government should collaborate with trade organisations to make industries better. “SAD-BJP government in Punjab has given high posts to independent businessmen without even taking trade organisations in the loop. It will neither help the industry nor the politicians.” Charanjiv said.
However, some other industrialists believe that Modi would fulfill all promises he had made and would provide a new start to the city industry.
Ludhiana Dyeing Industries' Association president Ashok Makkar said, “If Modi is elected as prime minister he would work for betterment of industries in Punjab due to his closeness with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.”
“We need to remember that Modi will be very beneficial for Punjab in case he is elected as PM this time. We can get industrial packages among other incentives to the state,” Makkar said.