One of the major problems is the high cost of raw material used in making locks.
There are over 10,000 units in the industry, largely including micro and small firms. Most of these units are owned by women, collectively employ nearly 25,000 people. The industry collectively earns nearly Rs. 400 crore as annual turnover.
The industry exports its products to various countries like Europe, parts of Asia, USA, Australia, Africa and the UK. “We have been into this business for over two decades, and are noticing the industry declining now. Most of us are women, as the local men are working in several other sectors. Making locks is a time-consuming task, requiring a lot effort,” says Sunita Kishore, one of the manufacturers.
“Earlier, the prices of raw material were low, but they have been increasing for the past two years. This has reduced our power to invest in our businesses. We also face some other problems, such as the use of obsolete tools and machinery, poor condition of roads, lack of working capital, irregular supply of electricity, and high cost of labour,” says Kamini Rani, another manufacturer.
“The state government should improve the condition of the roads here, and should provide financial support to enable us to invest more in the industry. It should also start a testing centre and a training centre here at Aligarh, to ensure better quality of locks and to motivate youngsters to join the industry,” says Rohini Kumari, another manufacturer.