Though scientific apparatus manufacturers in Ambala have reopened their units to limited production, shortage of funds, poor availability of raw material and low demand in the market continue to be a matter of concern for them.
They fear that the industry may take two years for revival and the annual turnover of Ambala’s industry, which is around Rs2,000 crore, may suffer a loss of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent this year.
There are over 1,500 small and big units in Ambala providing jobs to nearly 20,000 people. Over 80 per cent of customers at Ambala’s units are educational institutes and engineering colleges.
“Payments are stuck and new queries are few, but suppliers have been seeking their payments. Two months have passed and demand is likely to remain muted till September. We have reduced production to around 30 per cent,” said Sanjay Gupta, president of the Ambala Scientific Instruments Manufacturers Association.
“Shortage of raw material is another major issue. Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and states from where raw material arrives are facing a lockdown. Raw material stuck on ports has arrived, but there are no fresh supplies from China. Those who have material are quoting inflated rates,” he stated.
“The Centre has announced collateral-free loans worth Rs3 lakh crore for MSMEs. This will help us resolve the issue we have been facing related to working capital, but it is a loan and not financial assistance. There is no compensation for the losses that we have been suffering,” he added.
“This business has its own fixed expenses. Survival will become more difficult with loan repayment. There is no export order and freight charges have increased,” said Arun P Bansal, immediate past president of the Scientific Apparatus Manufacturers and Exporters.
“In the current situation, industrialists have shifted their focus on preparing products such as sanitiser dispensers, but due to competition, margins are very low,” he maintained.