The first thing that hits you when you enter Gujarat’s industrial hub of Ankleshwar town is the pungent smell of various chemicals, a lingering reminder that the pollution tainted small industries sector will play a key role in electoral victory.
The town in the Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency has around 1,800 units, most of them related to chemical production, employing around 1.25 lakh people, according to industry sources. Many unit owners in Ankleshwar, declared a “critically polluted zone” from 2010 to 2016, have a string of complaints against the bureaucratic hurdles in the way of their profit margins. The owner of a pharmaceutical SME (small and medium enterprise) said on the condition of anonymity that units in the Ankleshwar industrial hub find it difficult to get clearances from the central or state government due to environmental concerns.
However, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, unwelcomed by many Gujarati business persons in other sectors such as textiles, receives good reviews from the SMEs sector here. “GST to us is even bigger than god. All the rounds that we had to make earlier of government offices each month to submit documents have stopped completely now. The process under GST is completely online,” Dinesh Patel, managing director, Daxesh Petrochem, told.