Even as farmer suicides continue in Marahtwada, the wave of suicides has now knocked the doors of small scale industries. Unable to cope with the slowdown and pressure to pay GST, small scale industrialist Vishnu Kalwane (53) ended his life in Aurangabad MIDC.

Kalwane, the owner of Ganesh Industries was into spare part buffing business and had a team of ten workers. However, according to reports, he was under pressure due to the slowdown in the work orders and pending payments. Before hanging himself, Kalwane sent a suicide note to his daughter on Whatsapp. The note mentions that he was not able to pay GST for last seven months and was under pressure.

As many of the 5,000 small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) stand paralysed in Marathwada, the economy of the drought-prone area is in doldrums. After a severe drought destroyed crops, unseasonal rains in October ravaged the late kharif cultivation. As agri economy stands shattered, the overall market in Marathwada is reeling under the crisis.

There are 1.5-2 lakh workers in SMEs centred around Aurangabad belt. Rural flocks, who had migrated to Aurangabad as contract workers, are jobless and more people from rural Marathwada are coming to cities in search of livelihood.

“Majority of the industries in Aurangabad depends on Bajaj which exports about 60 per cent of its production here. Exports have not been affected and hence there is no panic situation here. But the slowdown is affecting the region and it seems that it might continue,” Abhay Hanchnal, vice-president of Marathwada Association of Small Scale Industries and Agriculture (MASSIA), told BusinessLine . He added that pending GST might be one of the reasons behind Kalwane’s suicide.

Narayan Pawar, another vice-president of MASSIA said that the industrial slowdown could be sensed on the ground. “Also, no new investments and projects are coming to Aurangabad. People prefer Pune, Mumbai and Nagpur as industrial investment destination as there are connectivity issues in Aurangabad,” he said.