Suffered setback of declining business and skilled labour
GST emerged as big factor for declining business as about 30-40 small-scale industries vanished and labour disappeared
Annual turnover came down by 30 per cent in the city
RAVINDER SINGH MALIK
Panipat has been known for its handloom industry across the world and it plays a significant role in the economy of the country, but it is under hammer these days, witnessing a decline in business. The handloom industry, which brought international recognition to Panipat, is facing many challenges. It is learnt that nearly 30 per cent of the small-scale traders have left the sector as GST has changed the scenario. Also, some of the bigger challenges emerged as big obstacle to business which ruined the traders. The industry includes production of blankets, curtains, badsheets, pillow covers and furnishing items. The government claims of “GST a boost to industry” have proved to be futile so far. There has been steady growth in the handloom sector during the last few years. A big portion of traders and people engaged in handloom industry claim that the GST has been a setback to the industry, resulting in big losses to traders. It also came to light that the industry has been lacking skilled labour leading to decline in business. “The handloom industry is shrinking,” said Pritam Sachdeva, president of the Spinners Association.
The GST emerged as an obstacle to business, resulting in less number of small traders. It requires government support to survive, he added. An urgent need is being felt to take steps to soften the change of land use (CLU) process so that traders could go in for new units. Out of a total of estimated 25,000 to 30,000 traders, 30-40 per cent have quit the business. It is learnt that nearly 50,000 labourers are involved in handloom industry in Panipat and nearly 30 to 40 per cent of them have either shifted to their parent states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh or started working in some other sectors. However, some of the traders in the city think that imposition of GST on handloom industry has been able to bring transparency. Also, the rising prices of blankets, woolens and other goods are now stable to some extent. Sunny Handlooms owner Goverdhan Vadhwa said that he has been a witness to overcrowded streets of Panipat handloom markets for the last 40 years but these have now gone empty these days due to the GST and some other problems. It has become tough to run a business like handloom in the city. Contrary to this, Tarik, owner of Saluja Handlooms does not seem to agree with Govardhan Vadhwa and says the GST contains some positive aspects too.
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