Added to these woes are the drought prevailing in several parts of the country and increased power tariff or withdrawal of power subsidy. These have reduced the sales of the agricultural pumpsets drastically.
Agriculture pumpsets in normal years accounted for 50 per cent of the sales of the over 1.8 million pumpsets manufactured in the country. It has fallen below 30 per cent and the trend is negative and would continue to be negative owing to the adverse conditions in the farm sector, says Mr G Rajendran, president of the Southern India Engineering Manufacturers' Association (SIEMA) and managing director of CRI Pumps (Pvt) Ltd.
Coimbatore accounts for 40 per cent of the market share for water lifting pumpsets in India. Ahmedabad, Baroda, Punjab and Delhi are the other major pump manufacturing centres. A major share of the exports of pumpsets, estimated at Rs 100 crore, is from this region, he said.
Pumpsets are exported to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, West, South and South-east Asia.
"To further increase the technological level of the pumpsets to compete with global brands, to benchmark them with world standards and to boost exports, SIEMA is planning to set up a business centre and information cell in its office premises by October 2003, as part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations," Mr Rajendran said.
"If the industry is allowed to compete on a level playing field with regard to the inputs costs, especially steel and power, there is lot of scope for exports," he added.
The Union government plans to introduce clauster approach, to the Coimbatore, foundry and motors and pump industry, with the support of UNIDO, is expected to bring about a major change in the quality and technological profile of several units in the region.