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DEHRADUN: Haridwar, which is the hub of pharmaceuticals, auto parts as well as cosmetic and food processing industries, is bearing the brunt of traffic woes caused by the ongoing Kanwar Yatra. Movement of heavy trucks, ferrying industrial products, is allowed only between 10pm to 4am during the seven-day yatra.As a result, most of the over 800 industrial units of the town are now getting their goods via Himachal Pradesh, which is increasing their cost and leading to 20 to 30% slump in production.

“This is an annual phenomenon. Some of the industrialists opt for different route, while others transport material using freight trains. Road blocking in the city is decided by district administration, we have no say in it,” said HR Nautiyal, regional manager of State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) Haridwar.
Under such circumstances, most of the industries shut their units for about four days to minimise the business loss. They also work on holidays or give extra hours to work.

Speaking with TOI, Harindra Garh, chairman of SIDCUL Manufacturers Association Uttarakhand (SMAU), said, “We respect Kanwar Yatra. But around three lakh employees, who are directly or indirectly connected with small, medium and big industries, are affected by it. We need a solution, as 98% products are sent to other states and barely 2% are consumed in Uttarakhand. And unfortunately, the 1% which goes to Kumaon region also gets stalled.”

Industrialists have repeatedly sought construction of a separate transportation track on Roshnabad-Biharigarh route which would connect them to Uttar Pradesh, but to no avail.

“When investors were setting up their business in 2003, the inflow of kanwar pilgrims was barely 20 lakh. However, now, it has exceeded ten fold, to almost two crore. It is nice, but rapidly increasing pilgrims are causing inconvenience to the industries,” said Rakesh Kumar, the owner of a biscuit factory. Haridwar industrial area has an annual turnover of Rs 40, 000 crore.Meanwhile, managing director of SIDCUL, R Rajesh Kumar, said, “The subject is in our notice and concrete steps are being planned by the state government to avoid any further problems to both, industrialists and pilgrims.”