With the West Bengal government issuing a tender for 20 lakh bicycles recently, a sluggish Ludhiana cycle industry could see a revival of fortunes. All major cycle makers in Ludhiana hope to gain orders and the business effect will trickle down to small cycle part manufacturers as well. The contract is slated to be awarded next month.
The bicycles are to be procured by West Bengal Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development and Finance Corporation for both boys and girl students in Classes 9-12 and are meant for these categories of students.
As per the tender, a bidder must have annual turnover of at least `200 crore during 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 and leading city-based manufacturers — Hero Cycles Limited and Avon Cycles Limited satisfy this condition.
Avon Cycles Limited managing director Onkar Singh Pahwa said “The tender is a major one and manufacturers have started working on the technicalities of the tendering process.” The local industry will definitely get a boost if the order is placed from here, he added.
“There are several small cycle components manufacturers who were waiting for such an order. This will definitely provide them some relief from the prolonged slowdown,” Pahwa added.
Hero Cycles Limited director SK Rai said such orders were common, but the order for 20 lakh cycles was definitely a major one. “This order has the potential to greatly help the local industry,” he added.
Experts and analysts also believe that the order would strengthen the cycle industry of Ludhiana.
National Productivity Council
vice-chairman Badish Jindal said the procurement of bicycles under government schemes have always been a boost for cycle industry and acted as a major financial support.
Chinese products have hit industry
The Ludhiana cycle industry has been facing stiff competition from Chinese imports. Exports from Ludhiana have declined, while the imports from China have shown a quantum increase. Five years ago, the export of bicycle and its parts from Ludhiana was put at Rs 1,400 crore while imports from China were less than Rs 600 crore. However, now the situation has reversed with Ludhiana’s exports falling to Rs 800 crore and Chinese imports valued at `1,500 crore.