The multi-skill development board that was given a nod by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday has stirred up a controversy as the city’s knitwear industry claims that the committee formed to run the board doesn’t comprise even a single member from the textile and knitwear industry.
The board will run a multi-skill development centre that would be developed on the premises of the knitwear facility that is managed and run by the Punjab State Hosiery and Knitwear Development Corporation at Focal Point.
Knitwear industry claims that despite the centre being on the land of the knitwear facility, the chief minister did not consider enrolling at least one member from the knitwear industry in the committee of the board that would be headed by Pankaj Munjal, co-chairman and managing director of Hero Cycles.
Vinod Thapar, chairman of Knitwear Club, has shot off a letter to the chief minister claiming that it was a shock for the knitwear industry to be completely ignored while constituting the board.
Knitwear industry has nearly 12,000 units associated with it where lakhs of workers work and also require skill development.
Thapar stated in the letter, “We all are surprised and shocked to see that no representation has been given to the knitwear industry, which is the backbone of Ludhiana, rather whole of Punjab,” and asked that at least one member from the industry be put in the board.
Thapar said the Knitwear Facility Centre where the skill development center would be established had served the industry by demonstrating modern technologies for the knitting and textile industry, trained and skilled manpower for the industry to absorb and conducted entrepreneurship development programme with virtual training on the shop floor, besides functioning as common facility for quality processing and testing of materials.
“Due to the presence of this facility, the hosiery industry of Ludhiana developed qualitatively and significantly in 1980s and gained momentum thereafter. The workers skilled by the facility were absorbed readily by the industry and are still serving the industry creditably for operating and maintaining modern technologies installed by the industry,” Thapar stated.
Besides Munjal, Badal had enrolled Sandeep Minni Riat, SP Oswal, Upkar Singh, SC Ralhan, Avtar Singh and deputy commissioner of Ludhiana in the committee, none of whom are from the knitwear industry.
Badal had stated that the skill development board would aim to provide professional training to millions of unskilled and semi-skilled workers in Punjab.
State government has allocated `8.5 crore as an initial investment to set up the board.
On the other hand, Narinder Miglani, general secretary of Knitwear Club, said the land should have been developed as an exhibition centre instead of setting up a skill development centre. “The exhibition centre could have been used for all industries of Ludhiana,” Miglani said.
Miglani also said most of the trained labour for the industry was coming from other states and the centre would be useful if it trained Punjab’s youth. “However, there would be few youth from Punjab who would like to work as skilled and semi-skilled workers in factories,” he said.