As the farmers’ protest entered the 21st day and no end in sight of a breakthrough, industry body Assocham has urged the government and farmers’ bodies to resolve the impasse over the farm laws as it is resulting in a loss of Rs3,500 crore per day. As per the release, ongoing protests are dealing a big blow to the interconnected economies of the region, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
According to the chamber, around two-thirds of consignments in transit are taking 50% extra time to reach their destinations in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi-NCR. In addition, transport vehicles are forced to travel up to 50% longer to reach Delhi from the warehouses in Haryana, Uttarakhand and Punjab. “The size of the combined economies of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K is about Rs 18 lakh crore.
With the ongoing farmers’ agitation and blockade of roads, toll plazas and railways, the economic activities have come to a halt. Industries such as textiles, auto components, bicycles, sports goods which cater significantly to the export markets would not be able to fulfil their orders, ahead of Christmas, harming our goodwill amongst the global buyers,” Assocham president Niranjan Hiranandani said.
Nikhil Sawhney, chairman of Assocham, Northern Region, said: “Farmers’ protest may push logistics cost by up to 8-10%. Many companies in the industrial belt surrounding Delhi are facing labour shortages as people struggle to reach production facilities from neighbouring towns. The ongoing farm agitation requires an immediate amicable solution as it is impacting not only the economic growth but also putting a huge dent to the supply chain which is affecting the large and small industries alike.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has said that farmers’ protest may impact economic recovery. The continuous distress by farmers’ protests in many parts of India has led to disruption in supply chains and logistics. They urged the government and protesting farmers “to find an amicable solution for the sake of the economy, which is already struggling to get on a growth trajectory”, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the CII said in a statement on Monday.
The farmers’ protests, which have intensified over the past couple of weeks, have led to obstruction of traffic and road blockades across multiple checkpoints in the northern states of Delhi-NCR, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, and in a smaller measure across many other states. The already broken supply chain which was recovering post the lockdown has come under severe stress.
The impact of the agitation is more acute for industries in the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, which are dependent on goods transported by road. There is also uncertainty around the transportation of farm products to the major markets of Delhi-NCR, and it could lead to significant losses to the farm sector in these states.
Tourism, a major revenue and livelihood source in these states, is likely to get adverse effects at a crucial time when the sector is looking forward to regain, some momentum following the unlocking of the economy.