Punjab cotton ginners, traders and farmers upset over not getting big-ticket investment and technology upgradation for textiles in Malwa region. As Narendra Modi , while addressing a Lok Sabha election rally on April 25, 2014 had promised to take care of farmers of Malwa and cotton traders. He had suggested the '5Fs' formula - farm to fibre to fabric to fashion and fashion to foreign - to revive cotton exports if NDA was voted to power.
During the interim Budget presented by Arun Jaitley on July 10, 2014, Punjab was left out while announcing eight textiles mega clusters at Varanasi, Bareilly, Lucknow, Surat, Kutch, Bhagalpur, Mysore and Tamil Nadu with an investment of Rs 200 crore. However, Malwa region's cotton farmers and traders were hopeful that the Centre would fulfill its promise in the current Budget but once again disappointed.
According to Punjab Cotton Factories and Ginners Association president Bhagwan Das Bansal, the current government has done nothing to provide any relief to cotton textile industry. They were expecting a textile park in Malwa region, but the finance minister has paid no heed to formulating a policy to promote textiles. It is very disheartening.
If the NDA government is serious about helping the cotton growers and traders of Malwa region, it should make efforts to prevail upon Pakistan to open Hussainiwala border for trade so that the fibre could be exported to the neighbours without any trouble.
Around 3,000 bales of cotton are being sent almost daily to Karachi through Wagah border, which is far away for Malwa traders. If export of cotton is allowed from the Hussainiwala border it could save us lot of money.
Farmer Gurmail Singh said that they were very hopeful of getting a market to sell the fibre prepared from cotton grown by Malwa farmers but there is no such proposal. The finance minister should have kept in mind the promise made by Modi and should have taken care of Punjab farmers as a lot of dreams were sold before Lok Sabha elections to the cotton growers and all those had crashed.
Demanding that the Centre should take steps to promote the textile firms in the state, the local industrialists have demanded that Pakistan should be prevailed upon to allow cotton exports Hussainiwala border post.
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