The bicycle industry in Punjab is facing a major crisis - there is a terrible shortage of migrant laborers of Bihar who used to hold up the huge bicycle industry - the owners are now offering free mobiles and bicycles to retain the work force.
THE TABLES appear to have turned. The shortage of migrant labourers of Bihar has adversely affected the bicycle industry of Punjab and the owners are devising means to keep a hold on them. The shortage is of the order of nearly 30 per cent.
In fact, these labourers are being wooed by offers of free mobile handsets and associated services as well as bicycles to commute to work and back. These bicycles are being given at highly discounted rates or, in some cases, on easy EMIs.
The Punjab bicycle industry relies heavily on these people of Bihar who have kept together the highly profitable industry for the likes of Hero, Avon and Rolex cycles. The effects of shortage of labour are being felt in the farm and textile manufacturing sectors also.
It now seems the Biharis are not willing to leave Bihar any longer, thanks to the various measures that have been initiated by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the past five years.
The bottom line is that development in one’s own state will encourage the individual to remain there and not venture out elsewhere search of a livelihood.
The earlier concept that Biharis are tough and can do only menial jobs is no longer valid. They used to be depicted as fit only for carrying loads as coolies in big railway stations like Howrah or pull handcarts in the business areas of Burrabazar or ply rickshaws in Kolkata, the city of joy or be the milkman of the neighbourhood in Mumbai who loves his bullocks. Those all-too-familiar pictures have changed drastically in the recent past.