The onset of winter, in Delhi, also means threatening levels of air pollution. It has been the same story for years, but for the first time in November 2017, the district magistrate of Ghaziabad ordered closure of 65 industrial units in view of the alarming air pollution levels. A few days later, the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board ordered another 90 factories in different industrial areas of Ghaziabad to stop production till further orders. The most polluted city and one of the oldest industrial belts in the NCR region, Ghaziabad houses 356 polluting units according to official records. But Pradeep Kumar Gupta, chairman of Indian Industries Association, Ghaziabad chapter, questions the knee-jerk reaction, “National Green Tribunal shut down all the industries here for a week when the pollution levels were high. Did that change anything? The levels are still the same, so what was the hasty measure for? There is large unplanned construction happening and the traffic congestion generates heavy dust. All that is ignored and we get targeted,” fumes Gupta suggesting that the measure was an eyewash.
Ghaziabad is known as the gateway to UP owing to its proximity and its location on the main route from Delhi to UP. According to official data, it houses 14,305 small, medium and heavy units that employ over 100,000 people. It houses major players like Coca-Cola, Dabur, Mother Dairy and Atlas Cycles. Manufacturing is the biggest revenue driver for the region, with the steel sector generating 25,000 jobs. While the units have been clocking modest revenue growth in FY18, businessmen say the implementation of GST meant they spent more time on paperwork rather than focusing on business.
Talk within the industry circles is that it is not difficult to set up a business here, but the hard part is to keep it running because getting served with a shutdown notice is an everyday affair. Jokes apart, the SMEs complain that they have no avenue to explain their position and solve issues, but are simply slapped with notices. Commitment failures, salary delays, raw material wastage, loss in productivity were some of the repercussions of