December 20th, 2016
Aligarh Lock Factories Shut Down
It’s been 40 days after demonetization. More and more stories of crippled industries are coming forward. One of the worst hit industries is the Aligarh lock industry.
Aligarh has been famous for its locks since the time of the Moghuls. The city has earned the name “Tala Nagri” (City of locks), and its locks are a symbol of quality. Three out of four locks (75%) in India are made in Aligarh.
The lock industry here which has over one lakh employees has come to a standstill with over 90% of the factories shutting down after demonetization. The few facilities that are open are likely to meet the same fate shortly.
The video made by NewsClick.in depicts the grim picture of how the citizens have been affected by the closing down of the lock factories. More than 98% of the work done in these factories via cash. Owners have no money in hand to pay wages of workers. They also are short on cash to buy raw materials. They now have a surplus stock of manufactured goods piling up in their storehouses. The city that has a population of over 10 lakh has only one functioning ATM now.
The lock industry is the economic backbone of the city. Rs 210 crore is earned almost every year by exporting locks and other hardware made of brass.
The lock manufacturers have also been demanding a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be built for them in the city. Though the Union Commerce Ministry has approved it, no initiatives have been taken so far.
With no cash in hand, people are barely able to manage basic needs. As one person says, this phase is their “Acche Din”.
Apart from the lock industry, the leather, and the hostel industries are also suffering due to the cash crunch. “In leather industry, Chennai has recorded more than 60 percent fall in skin arrival. The other main leather clusters – Agra, Kanpur and Kolkata, have recorded over 75 percent decline in this regard,” a survey-cum-analysis on ‘Impact of Demonetisation’ on leather industry’ by Assocham said. The tourism industry in the country has also seen losses to the tune of Rs 4o crore.