This Article is From Jul 08, 2012

Bicycle trade in Punjab faces problem due to labour shortage from Bihar

Bicycle trade in Punjab faces problem due to labour shortage from Bihar
Ludhiana: The bicycle industry is facing serious crisis in Ludhiana due to almost 50 per cent labour shortage, particularly from Bihar.

Despite incentives like free accommodation and gas connection added to the freebies like mobile phone and bicycle, cycle manufacturers are facing acute labour shortage mainly from Bihar in Ludhiana popularly known as the country's "bicycle capital".

Many small cycle manufacturing units unable to cope up with shortage of labourers have shut their shop, traders said.

Bihar Labour minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal told PTI from Patna that as per his department's estimate, there is a fall of almost 30 per cent in migration of unskilled labourers from the state.

He attributed this to large scale development works like construction of roads, bridges and schools and hospitals which is providing them employment in Bihar itself.

There are nearly 5000 small and big manufacturers of bicycles and parts in Ludhiana. Some of the leading names include Hero, Avon and Rolex.

"The profit of those who are continuing in the trade has almost halved", D S Chawla, himself running a cycle parts unit and also former president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturing Association said.

The cycle manufacturers are now tendering more incentives to lure workers.

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In addition to doling out freebies like mobile phones and bicycles, the manufactures are extending free accommodation and gas connections to draw labourers to work, Mr Chawla said adding these are prominently displayed outside factory gates.

Labour contractors are offered high commission for bringing labour, he said, adding some have announced free motorcycle to these contractors to motivate them to bring large number of labourers.

Wages have gone up and the labourers are offered Rs 6,000 cash in hand as compared to Rs 3,500 earlier, Mr Chawla said.

But, in spite of all these the labour crisis persists in Ludhiana, a trade hub of Punjab, he said.

P D Sharma, President of Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab echoed similar views.