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Coronavirus impact: Amid shrinking demand, Punjab industry seeks relief

Press Trust of India  |  Chandigarh 

With the industry facing heat because of massive drop in demand for industrial products due to coronavirus scare, industry representatives in the state on Saturday sought relief in the shape of deferment of payment of the goods and services tax, cut in bank interest rate and immediate release of tax refund to stay afloat in the time of crisis.

Hit hard because of tepid demand, the industry also sought from the Punjab government to defer the payment of electricity bills, property tax and other statutory dues for at least two months.

Punjab's almost all industrial verticals be it bicycle, garment, auto parts, hand tools, etc have been hit because of sharp drop in demand for products, industry said.

"Almost all the industries in Punjab have been hit because of shrinking demand caused by coronavirus," said Upkar Singh, President of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertaking, on Saturday.

Factories especially in Ludhiana have even slowed down their production capacities in view of the drop in demand.

"There is no customer for bicycles in the market. Everybody is busy buying sanitisers or ration," said a prominent bicycle maker in Ludhiana and said there was a whopping 50 per cent drop in sales

Export oriented units have witnessed cancellation of orders, causing massive financial loss to them.

"We are suffering a lot because of cancellation of orders from European and other markets," said Singh.

"There is a condition of financial crisis in the industry and in this period of crisis the government should compensate the industry," said Rajiv Jain, general secretary, Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisation (FICO).

Badish Jindal, president of All Industries and Trade Forum, sought from the Centre deferring payment of GST and direct taxes for at least three months.

Businesses also sought reduction in bank interest to cut down the cost of their working capital.

"The government should release all the pending GST refunds on priority so that wages and salaries could be paid in time by the industry, said another industrialist.

"We also want from the state government to defer the payment of electricity bill, corporation and property taxes for at least two months," said Upkar Singh.

Meanwhile, the industry claimed that there was no layoff at the moment and workers were being kept busy with some work despite slow production.

Several industrial units have also been holding awareness programmes for workers about coronavirus, medical camps and distributing them masks and sanitizers to prevent the spread of infection.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 18:20 IST