Jallandhar~~s sports industry has fallen on bad times

Published: Saturday, May 21, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Jallandhar:The city's sports industry, which counts among its customers legends such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Steve Waugh, has fallen on bad times of late as "lopsided" import policies and government indifference have hit the trade adversely.

Almost 90 per cent of the cricket equipment used all over the world is manufactured in India and Jalandhar contributes nearly 30 to 35 per cent of it.

But the ban on Kashmir willow cleft and cane used for making bat handles from Andaman and Nicobar has made sourcing of raw materials a problem.

"We can import cane from Singapore but not from our own country," laments Ravinder Dhir, president of the sports forum.

While a drop in the supply of mulberry and willow wood has hit Jalandhar's sports industry, the abundance of these two types of wood has made Pakistan a top exporter of these goods, Dhir said.

Kashmir willow and mulberry wood have been the backbone of the industry in Jallandar since 1948 when it was shifted from Sialkot (now in Pakistan), he said, adding the industry flourished till 1988 when the Jammu and Kashmir government banned the transportation of willow outside the state.

Another blow was dealt to the industry with the dwindling of mulberry trees in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh during the past decade on account of lack of plantation, Dhir said. In the absence of any government initiative to revive the industry, the situation has come to such a pass that more than 50 per cent of the manufacturing units have put down their shutters during the past 10 years. Those that remain are surviving on Kashimr willow received through illegal sources.

"We have suggested to the state government that 20 square kilometres of land could be give to the industry where we could grow quality mulberry trees, but I think promoting sports industry is not on the agenda of the government," Dhir said.

On the home front, Jalandhar is losing out to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where the tax on sports goods is four per cent as compared to 12.5 per cent in Punjab, said Sanjay Kohli, chairman of sports forum.

The cottage industry, giving employment to more than 10,000 people in Jalandhar, has received another jolt with the implementation of Value added tax (VAT) as it could not compete with Meerut, where the new regime has not been introduced.

Write Comments