The Tushar Dhote Column: Potential has a new meaning in Uttarakhand’s print-packaging arena
Last week, Tushar Dhote discussed the roadshows in Pune and Indore, and his impressions about the Vijayshri Packaging plant in Indore, which he said, underlines India’s coming of age as a global print manufacturing hub of the future. In this sixth edition of his Column, Dhote did a recce of Uttarakhand and finds out why Haridwar is an unexplored print destination
17 Feb 2023 | By Tushar Dhote
The core group of Pamex had rightly chosen Haridwar as one of the stops for our roadshows. In the absence of an AIFMP-affiliated association, the challenge remained to get the stakeholders together for a daylong event that is planned for Friday, 3 March 2023.
Anil Arora, president, Print-Packaging.com, visited Haridwar in December 2022 for a recce of the venues for the event and established contact with the Dehradun-based Devbhumi Printers and Publishers Association, an association of printers not affiliated with AIFMP. Once back in Mumbai, he discussed with me the challenges, and we both felt that we needed to go there once again and try and meet up with the top printers in Uttarakhand, who, together with their peers, could provide the critical mass for a meaningful event.
Early January 2023, we embarked upon our journey, driving from Delhi on a cold morning. Driving on the Eastern peripheral expressway, through the Meerut bypass and the four-lane highway, the journey was smooth and took barely over three hours as we reached Sidcul for our first meeting.
Haridwar: the unexplored print destination
Haridwar is an ideal destination for packaging and printing entrepreneurs due to its abundant natural resources, including access to raw materials and a favourable climate.
The presence of the Ganges river and its surrounding hills also provide a very picturesque backdrop. The Government of India and the state of Uttarakhand have taken various initiatives to promote the industry in Haridwar. Several industrial areas have come up in the region, including the well-planned iconic Sidcul. Around them has emerged a cluster of printing and packaging units, which are able to serve the industries in the region and beyond successfully. These units have seen a marked growth over time and have been able to absorb the latest technologies and equipment to become at par with the best anywhere in the country.
The pollution-free environment of the area, its proximity to other major cities, and its efficient transport infrastructure are some of the other factors that make it a preferred destination for the printing and packaging industry. The area now includes neighbouring towns like Dehradun, Roorkee and Saharanpur, besides Haridwar, which is home to state-of-the-art printing technologies.
Haridwar is an ancient city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, located on the banks of the holy river Ganga. According to Hindu mythology, it is one of the seven holiest places and is known for having the largest congregation of devotees in India.
Packaging hub in Sidcul
Haridwar’s Industrial belt Sidcul has a lot of packaging and label printing units such as TCPL, ITC, Patanjali, Omega Print O Pack, Square Vision, Koncept Labels, Ekta Graphics and many more. Unfortunately, there is no print association which could assist us with our planned roadshow.
Our first halt was Omega Print O Pack, helmed by Sandeep Jain, a first-generation printer who has, over time, expanded to four separate units for packaging and corrugation and is now assisted by his young, affable and enthusiastic son, Akshat Jain. The duo helped us with the contacts of a few known printers in the area and were happy to take the lead in making a group of the leading printers to back the event.
Our next meeting was with the young entrepreneur and proprietor of Koncept Labels, Parag Saxena, who too was eager to lend us all the logistical support during the roadshow. We were at Square Vision Press next, run by another father and son-duo. Arvind Singhal, who is into mono cartons, corrugated boxes, labels and printing of lamitubes related his journey as a first-generation printer and was happy to share tips on making a success of our event. He also introduced us to Ranjeet Jalan, the president of the local corrugation association in Haridwar, and is actively involved in the Sidcul Industry Association.
The next morning, we made our way to Selaqui to meet the industrious Sanjeev Sondhi, the promoter CEO of Zircon Technologies, one of the largest label printers in the country. Zircon, known for making all kinds of decorative and security labels, has now expanded into shrink sleeves, stand-up pouches, kraft paper canisters, flexible packaging and industrial automation from its various factories spread over the country. He readily accepted as an expert panellist in the planned event.
We had a lunch meeting with Raanu Oberoi, the Devbhumi Printers and Publishers Association president and its honorary secretary, Sanjeev Verma, who agreed to extend support to the Haridwar roadshow and to bring a large contingent of attendees from among their 150-strong membership to the event.
We drove to Saharanpur to meet Rakesh Sethi, president of the fledgling Saharanpur Printers Association and secured his support for the roadshow.
The next morning, on our way back to New Delhi, we halted briefly at Ektka Graphics at Roorkee, the Digital unit with 15K HP Printing machine. To my pleasant surprise, it turned out to be one of the finest digital units I had seen in the country. Having successfully captured the photo album market in the region, Nitin Sharma, the young proprietor partnering with his wife, is now venturing into the commercial segment. He was thrilled to be a part of the Pamex roadshow, and also consented to be on the panel for the conference.
The two-day tour had been exhausting but satisfying. With our current efforts, we hope to form a much-needed printing association in Uttarakhand that could serve the entire region.
Next halts: Bengaluru and Haridwar
With Pamex 2023 only a few weeks ahead, our last two roadshows will tune the final chord for the show. The Bengaluru event, organised in association with Karnataka State Printers Association, will be held on 24 February 2023 at Sir M V Auditorium, FKCCI. The last stop will be Haridwar, where the event organised with Devbhoomi Printers & Publishers Association will take place on 3 March 2023 at Yashail Hotel.
In the meantime, the online visitor registrations for Pamex are in full swing, and the invitations are already in post. Convergence is gaining momentum, and the industry will get its preview at Pamex 2023, scheduled from 27-30 March at the Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai.
(Tushar Dhote is co-chairman of Pamex. This is the sixth in a series of weekly Tushar Dhote Columns, which will continue till the commencement of Pamex 2023 in Mumbai. In his next, Dhote will give a head-up on subsequent roadshows. Stay tuned in…)