Some of the significant print associations from Maharashtra – Bombay Master Printers’ Association (BMPA), Mumbai Mudrak Sangh (MMA), Maharashtra Mudran Parishad (MMP), and Poona Press Owners Association (PPOA) – held a press event at Mumbai’s Press Club on 15 March to highlight the problems that the complete printing and packaging industry across the state are facing due to the continued rise in paper prices.
The BMPA was represented by its president Iqbal Kherodawala, MMS was represented by its president Prakash Canser, MMP was represented by its president Balasaheb Ambekar and PPOA was represented by its president Raveendra Joshi.
The associations called the price increase an “absurd, unending, continuous and cruel” drama faced by print businesses in Mumbai, Poona, and across Maharashtra. They said that print businesses across the country are facing unprecedented cost pressures.
Kherodawala comments on price hike in the Mumbai press event
“The price increase has been to the tune of 30%, 40%, and even 50%, and if this goes on and if our print buyers do not agree to give converters and printers a higher price, then the industry is going to get severely affected,” said Kherodawala in the press event. “The print industry is already under stress due to the pandemic.”
Kherodawala said the government should consider bringing paper and paperboards under the Essential Commodities Act, and they should ban their exports.
Joshi cited the example of Maharashtra’s educational sector, and the impact of paper price rise is having on its operations. He said that there are 32 universities in Maharashtra and the quantum of paper required is humongous. “Just imagine the effect this will have on the universities. Either the students will have to pay higher prices, or the universities will have to bear the cost,” he said. A similar adverse impact will have on the cost of school books, he added.
Ambekar said that many MMP members are very small businesses under deep stress due to the rise in paper prices. He added that if the trend continues, these businesses will see a sharp decline in their profitability.
Canser said that the industry could neither ask for a price increase from its customers nor reduce costs since they were essential expenses to survive in the lockdown.
All the representatives said that the apex umbrella body under which all regional associations from India get represented nationally – All India Federation of Master Printers is also actively pursuing an awareness campaign on the price spiral.