Moradabad: The city of Moradabad is famous for Urdu poet Jigar Moradabadi and its brass metal products. The brass metal industry is its economic lifeline, and the citizens are in no mood to re-elect BJP’s sitting member of parliament (MP) owing to its anti-industry and anti-business policies.
Moradabad – also popularly known as Peetalnagari – has witnessed a lot of shutdowns of the micro and small-scale brass industries after the demonetisation and the implementation of the goods and the services tax (GST) by the central government.
Dilshad Hussain, 65, does not want his grandsons to join this profession, as it may lead to financial instability. “I am from the fourth generation of a family that has been in this profession, and my sons too have joined me. But I will try my best that my grandsons do not join us, as we have suffered enough losses and cannot afford anymore,” says Husaain.
Hussain, who has been awarded by the President for his brass metal skills says that over 130 small-scale brass industries have stopped their operations and there is no data on how many micro units have shut.
“There is no doubt that the small players in the brass metal industry have been affected by the policies, and they have all pledged not to vote for the BJP at least. The metal workers make up for a large chunk of Moradabad’s population, and they will make sure that the BJP is not coming back to power at least in this constituency,” he says with determination.
Another brass metal worker Abdul Jameel, who lives in the densely populated Makbara Mohaalla, asks what is the use of voting for anyone when your kids have to sleep without food for many nights. “The condition after the demonetisation was so bad that it became almost impossible to manage two square meals for the family. It is better to work as a labourer, as in this trade, there is no certainty left,” Jameel says.
Another worker, Shyam Chaturvedi, says that the brass metal workers have seen enough fake promises by the politicians and they are not going to fall for any now.
“Since the last three Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, we have been listening to the fake promises by our leaders. They have been claiming that they will establish a brass hub on the outskirts of the city once they are elected to the power. But the reality is that people are still doing the work from their homes, and nothing has been done for them,” he said, adding that either NOTA [none of the above] or no vote is the best form of protest to make the lawmakers aware of the damage they have done to the people.
According to the data gleaned from the Moradabad district administration, there are about 9,087 registered industries, majority of which are brass industries. However, the data dates back to 2016, and has not been updated after that.
Moradabad expert Sushil Shardul says that the brass industry was the lifeline of the entire district, and people even from the adjoining districts used to work in the district as the metal products from the district were imported across the globe. But now, the industry has received a major jolt due to the demonetisation.
“Earlier, before the demonetisation, the brass work was done in almost all the houses of the old Moradabad area. But now, a lot of people have switched their profession after having faced regular losses. There are families with many generations into the brass metal industry. However, they have stopped taking work, and are now working as labourers. There has been no effort by anyone in helping this industry revive,” says Shardul.
He adds, “The lifeline of any city is its micro and small industries. Over 60% of the city’s population depends upon the industry and if this industry will see a downfall, then very soon the city’s condition will become pathetic. There are no jobs and people will die of hunger if this situation continues.”
The Moradabad parliamentary constituency is witnessing a triangular contest between BJP candidate Sarvesh Singh, Congress’s Imran Pratapgarhi and Gathbandhan’s S T Hasan. The polling in Moradabad is due on tomorrow.
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