The cricket bat manufacturing industry in Jalandhar is reeling under worst-ever crisis, with local units choosing to stop production for the first time as there has been a poor market response of late.
More than 50 small and large units that manufacture bats and other cricket goods are facing heavy losses and many have asked their staff to look for alternative jobs after waiting for a positive response from the market for several months.
As per figures available with local associations, more than 35,000 persons directly or indirectly linked with the bat manufacturing industry are dependent on the same for their livelihood.
“I have never seen the industry in such as bad shape in the last 35 years. The crisis is unprecedented as there is no demand for bats in the market. Our clients say there is no craze for cricket among the new generation. Big and small units all are facing all-time low,” said Ravinder Dhir, president, Khel Udhyog Sangh Jalandhar, and owner of a city-based bat manufacturing unit.
Going by the market trend between May and December last year, the sale of bats came down by 80%. It’s only the high-end bats that are being made on orders from national or international clients.
Hindustan Times visited many units in the city and found almost no activity in most of them. The Kashmiri willow purchased to make bats is lying unused in the factory stores.
Even as the local units have witnessed a decline in the sale of bats in the last few years, the scenario this year is the worst so far. The manufacturers are facing a double blow as they have already paid for purchasing willow but are not able to sell the manufactured bats. The sale of other cricket goods has also gone down.
“I have told most of my skilled labourers to look for alternatives as I won’t be able to pay them without work. Around this time, we used to sell around 300 bats in the local market everyday, but it has come down to 5-10 bats,” said a businessman.