Batala region in Punjab is a leading industrial centre in the state. But, many major industries have shut down and never opened again. The state of Punjab has become difficult for the working of small industries. The Batala region that used to be a major business hub is now changing. Presently, industries are decreasing in the city that is also known as an industrial hub in the state.
According to a report from The Tribune, the number of units in balata was over 2,000 in the 1980s and has reduced to about 400 now. Batala is the eighth-largest city in Punjab and the second-oldest city after Bhatinda. The city is known for manufacturing machine tools and woollen products. However, these units have borne the brunt of conflict and apathy causing an industrial decay.
The Attack from Conflict and Apathy-
The decline in industrial units of Batala has taken place at the same time that Chinese goods are coming at a large scale in India. So, the advent of these Chinese goods has harmed the industries in India.
But, some other factors have harmed Batala in a significant way. The first factor was the violent conflict of the 1980s in Punjab. The second has been Apathy from the governments.
The military period during the 1980s caused a lot of harm to industries. Even after things returned to normal, the following governments did not take concrete steps to revive the industrial sector in the region. Many companies shifted their work to neighbouring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
At the same time, other states offer incentives to units that are not offered in Punjab. Even there are frequent protests taking place that hamper the work. As per data, the regions of Ludhiana, Chandigarh, Shibzada Ajit Nagar, Patiala, etc have revived better in the post-conflict era of the state than Batala.
The decrease in industrial units has created a lack of job opportunities. So, the people who came here are now going elsewhere. We can say those swinging politics has affected the development of the region.
An intention that residents consider as the reason for the Apathy by governments is voting behaviour. Batala has voted for the losing party in key Assembly Polls. Like in 1992, polls during the president’s rule in the state, elections were won by the Congress party. However, Batala was won by a BJP candidate. In 2012, Batala voted for Ashwani Sekhri of the Congress. At that time SAD-BJP won the state. The situation reversed in 2017 when SAD won the seat and Congress won Punjab.
Now, this has become a pattern. The voters vote for the losing party, so even the parties neglect the seat during elections. So far, no concrete steps have been taken in the direction to improve the situation.
These changing circumstances in politics have been a major reason behind the lack of attention on the industrial units of Batala. The closing of industries has affected the industrial sector in the state. Also, this has hampered the rate of local employment.
Batala is just one of the regions suffering the brunt of politics. Elections and politics are aspects of a healthy democracy. It is important to understand that politics should not affect the governance and development of a region. Also, the voter’s preference of a particular region should not be the basis for discrimination in administration. Furthermore, the government must look into such issues without any indifference.