Patiala: Unhappy over high power rates, lack of tax benefits and introduction of e-TRIP system, secondary steel makers on Monday threatened to shift their base to other states if the Punjab government did not pay attention to their problems.

"Over 200 furnaces and 300 steel rolling mills in the state may shift base to Gujarat or in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, if the state government doesn't wake up and pay attention to our genuine demands," President of Mandi Gobindgarh Furnace Association Mohinder Gupta said on Monday here.

Gupta accused Punjab government's policies of forcing them to move out of Punjab.

He said the power rates are quite high in Punjab as compared to rates prevailing in other states and it has dent the industry's margin hard and led their products incompetitive in the market.

"The state has no policy for industry and the power supply here is minimal. Moreover to our disadvantage, we are quite a distance away from the ports (which makes product costlier here)," he added.

Gupta also complained of lack of benefits in taxation policy of the state government and alleged 'Inspector Raj', forcing them to think about shifting.

Gupta said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had already extended an invitation to them to set up their industries in that state and also assured of every kind of help in setting up the units.

"The Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi has extended an invitation to us when a group of industrialists of Ludhiana and Mandi Gobindgarh met him at Ahmedabad recently," he said.

He further said they had also seen land in Raipur (Chhatisgarh) and Gujarat, too, and land was available at only 12 lakhs per acre in both the states.

"Unlike in Punjab, Gujarat has single window clearance for setting up the industry, no need to visit pollution control office or wasting time and money at power offices for getting power connection," he said.

Industry representatives were also upset over the introduction of e-TRIP (Transportation Information Within Punjab) to plug the revenue leakage.

"Government needs to protect our interests. The industry in Punjab is already facing many hardships and by introducing e-TRIP, which entails a cumbersome filing process, state government is putting additional burden on it," Gupta said.

Steel makers, having their base in Ludhiana, Khanna and Mandi Gobindgarh, cater to construction, and light engineering sector including bicycle and auto-parts.


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