Industry a blind spot for parties
A potholed, two-lane road in Kanpur's Dada Nagar industrial estate has been re-laid just before Uttar Pradesh goes to polls. But it wasn't a poll sop. It was a fruit of the labours of industrialists of the area.
For five years, they staged 42 dharnas and led 25 delegations to the powers-that-be in Kanpur and Lucknow to get the road - where even a cyclist dreaded pedalling - repaired.
Finally authorities re-laid the road three months ago and it cost them just Rs 37 lakh.
"The state government didn't initiate any dialogue with the industry over the last five years - forget about problems, not even to discuss the state of industry in UP," said Tarun Khetarpal, national advisor, Indian Industries Association.
Kanpur, a bustling city of 5.6 million people, has 15,000 industrial units in four industrial clusters. It has the ninth largest economy in India, according to Pricewaterhouse Cooper, with an annual contribution of $27 billion to the country's GDP.
The city pays Rs 7,000 crore in taxes - the highest in the state. It contributes 60% of the state's revenue to the Centre.
But the crumbling infrastructure severely tests the resilience of industrialists. Strangely, the issue hasn't stirred political parties.
The indifference, industry captains say, is attributable to votebank politics.
"We are not votebanks, so we have fallen off the radar. Politicians, time and again, have told this on our face," says Atul Seth, secretary, UP pharmaceutical manufacturers' association. Even in the midst of the poll campaign, political parties haven't thought it fit to talk about steps to boost industry.
"All we are asking for is to support industrialisation with proper roads, electricity and single-window redress of our grievances. Is that too much?" asked Vikram Kothari, chairman of Kothari group.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Suspicion was raised over the authenticity of the exam in the backdrop of the infamous rigging of entrance examination to medical colleges in 2013-14, popularly known as Vyapam scam.
- According to HT's sister publication, Hindustan LIVE, Govinda Singh had gone to the border with two others -- Pappu Singh and Gurmeet Singh, while returning from a market. They got into an argument with the Nepal police which led to the clash and the subsequent firing.