Citing power shortages, rising land costs and unfavourable policies for them in Punjab, the State’s fastener manufacturers are planning to set up a cluster in Gujarat by investing Rs 1,000 crore initially.

Fastener manufacturers see huge growth potential in Gujarat by tapping several sectors like refinery, power and automobile sectors which have a strong base in the western State, company officials said.

Acute power shortage

The industry’s problems in Punjab include power shortage that is hampering the growth of the industry, they added.

“We have made up our mind to set up a fastener cluster in Gujarat as the State offers immense potential to us because of the presence of a host of industries in the field of refinery, power and automobile and our products can be used in these sectors in a big way,” All India Fastener Manufacturers Association, Narinder Bhamra said.

A fastener mechanically joins or affixes two or more objects together. Examples include nuts, bolts, screws and washers. The fastener industry in Punjab has an annual production of Rs 5,000 crore from 1,200 units, out of which exports constitute 25 per cent of total size.

The industry also sees export potential because of the sea port in Gujarat which will further provide impetus to fastener shipments. “As we will be near the port, we can also import cheap raw material from China and Taiwan which will help us in reducing our input cost,” he said.

Rs 1,000-cr investment

“Initially we will be investing Rs 1,000 crore for setting up a fastener cluster comprising 50-60 units,” he said.

A delegation of fastener makers led by Narinder Bhamra is visiting Gujarat on September 15 to meet with the senior officials of Gujarat Government in order to work out issues like land, incentives and approvals to start the project.

“We are looking at 100 acres of land in Ahmedabad to start our venture,” he said. Fastener makers are not the first ones to invest out of Punjab. State-based textile majors including Trident, Vardhman Group have already invested in other States including Madhya Pradesh to expand their business.

Another reason for moving to Gujarat is their own Government’s “uncaring” attitude towards their industry, Bhamra said.

“There is a severe power shortage in the State which is hampering industry operations. And despite the State Government’s claims, power is not sufficiently available to the industry. Moreover, power is so costly that it becomes very difficult to compete with the other States,” he said.

Farmer bias

“State Government claims that quick sanctions will be given to new projects through single-window system but we have seen several applications gathering dust and do not get approvals within the specified time,” he alleged.

The industry is also unhappy about the high land prices.

“The Punjab Government is imposing new taxes only on the industry and doling out free power to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore annually to farmers without taking care of the ills of our sector,” a Ludhiana-based industrialist said.

(This article was published on September 2, 2012)
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