Dharamsala, January 19
A delegation of the industrial associations of Una, including from Tahliwal, Mehatpur and Amb, met Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur at the circuit house here this evening. They submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister alleging that high tariffs being charged by the truck unions of Una district had made their businesses unviable. They urged Thakur to intervene in the matter.
In the memorandum (a copy is with The Tribune), the industrial associations alleged that many big investments had moved out of Una district due to the monopoly of the truck unions. They said that two paper mills in the Tahliwal area, which had invested about Rs 400 crore, had stopped their operations as their businesses had become unviable due to high transportation cost.
Rajesh Kaushal, president of the Tahliwal Industrial Association, said that the industrial units in Una district were providing employment to about 40,000 people, most of whom are Himachalis. The industry was paying salaries to the tune of Rs 200 crore annually. “There are around 1,300 industrial units in Una involving an investment of about Rs 12,080 crore. The industries in Una are paying power bills of Rs 500 crore and contributing Rs 1,100 crore as revenue to the exchequer. They are also paying about Rs 180 crore as freight every year but still a few truck operators are being allowed to hold them to ransom,” he alleged.
CS Kapoor, president of the Mehatpur Industrial Association, said that the truck unions were charging very high freight. “The market freight rate from Una to Delhi is Rs 18,000 whereas the Una truck unions are charging Rs 25,700. The freight from Delhi to Jaipur markets is Rs 22,500 but the truck unions are forcing the local industries to pay Rs 30,425. For Nepal, the market freight is Rs 3.30 per kg whereas the truck unions are charging Rs 8 per kg,” he said.
Independent MLA from Dehra Hoshiar Singh accompanied the industrial associations to the Chief Minister, who assured them of looking into the issue. Earlier, the industrial associations had sought the intervention of the DGP.
New factories being opened in Punjab
- Bectors Food (Cremica biscuits) has decided to expand its unit at Ludhiana instead of its Tahliwal unit.
- Sukhjit Starch is also not expanding its Tahliwal unit and is instead investing Rs500 crore on the expansion of its Phagwara unit.
- Nestle has invested about Rs300 crore in Gujarat instead of expanding its Tahliwal-based project.