Due to the farmers' agitation, the supply chains across north India have been severely hit because of the closure of major routes, including the National Highway connecting Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir to the national capital, which has greatly impacted businesses.The hosiery industry in Punjab's industrial town Ludhiana has been badly impacted by the farmers' agitation.Sudarshan Jain, President of the Knitware and Apparel Manufacturers Association of Ludhiana, told IANS that the textile industry was first hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic and now the industry is severely affected by the farmers agitation.He said, "Before the start of the farmers' agitation in Delhi, the farmers in Punjab were already protesting on the streets which has affected the railways-roadways traffic. In this situation their finished goods are not able to reach the Indian markets and abroad."Sales during the summer season had fallen due to the corona pandemic and now sales in the winter season have come to a standstill with the farmers agitation, Jain added.He said that to transport goods from Punjab to Bihar, Odisha and other states in the country they have to depend on Delhi for transportation and courier services whereas GT Road, which is the lifeline of road transport in North India, has remained closed for the last three weeks.The Singhu border located on the GT Road at the Delhi border is the central site of the farmers' agitation which has remained closed since November 26.
Apart from this, several other main routes for entering the national capital, including Delhi's Tikri border and Ghazipur border, have also been closed by the protesting farmers. Due to this neither finished goods are able to reach the markets nor raw materials to the factories. Traders in Delhi say that there has been a shortage of raw materials due to the agitation.Neeraj Sehgal, General Secretary of the Mayapuri Industrial Welfare Association in the national capital, told IANS that the supply chain of raw materials in Delhi-NCR has been badly hit affecting the functioning of factories.He said that wherever there is a small supply, it is taking place at skyrocketing prices. The costly raw materials will adversely impact the industries, already facing economic challenges during the corona pandemic, Sehgal added.Sehgal said, "The industries have not stopped functioning but their pace has slowed down." Large trucks are not able to enter freely which has increased the price of raw materials. The industries in Delhi have been severely impacted with the twin blows of Covid-19 and the farmers agitation.Several traders have said that even if the roads are open, businessmen do not want to send their finished goods because there are doubts whether the goods would reach their destination safely or not due to the farmers agitation.Arun Popli, Okhla Chamber of Industries Chairman, said, "The crisis of supply of raw materials has arisen in the whole of north India, including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, as well as finished goods which are not reaching the markets. If this situation persists for a few more days, the factories will be on the verge of closure which will lead to a major crisis."The industrial organisations have estimated that nearly Rs 3,500 crore are being lost each day due to the agitation.