–By Sandhya Malhotra

Siliguri, Feb. 21: It is a cut throat marketing world and with the city being situated close to a big fish like Kolkata, the local partners are feeling the heat from state capital. The city-based North Bengal IT Traders Organisation (NITO) is upset by the unfair trading practices of the partners from neighbouring Kolkata.

The members of the association are facing a cross territory competition from the Kolkata dealers, who are eroding the market of local dealers and are selling products directly to local customers at much lower price.

Siliguri

There has been an increase of this in the recent times and the local association has approached the state IT association, Confederation of Indian IT Associations (CIITA), in an attempt to curb it.

According to NITO, the companies (primarily from Kolkata) in order to achieve their targets have not only eaten into the local market with some unethical trade practices, but also have also started using branches as distribution points. The Partners from Kolkata have also started poaching the local staff of the partners to get the database of Siliguri partners’ customers.

Speaking to Channel Times, Manoj Baid, president of NITO said, “Close to 80 percent of Siliguri and its upcountry IT market gets material from Kolkata partners to fulfill the local requirement. So the direct supply of material to our customers is not acceptable. Kolkata partners can’t disturb our business by getting direct into our local market. Such unfair trading practices by leading Kolkata dealers are highly criticised and are posing a threat to our monthly sales, which have dropped by 50 percent for last 2-3 months.”

Baid also added, “We don’t want to create unhealthy business environment for our local partners. We are ready to sit with Kolkata partners to resolve any issues if they have with our local traders. If any of Kolkata partners are facing any payment or cheating related issues from our partners, our association is be ready to fix them.”

NITO has verbally informed CIITA about the prevailing situation and is also talking to OEMs and national distributors seeking their support.

Channeltimes spoke to B Hari, president CIITA and Kolkata Association, who said he will be visiting Siliguri to understand the issue. “We are trying to understand the specific issue. Although, we have not got any official complaint from NITO, we are discussing it with the Kolkata IT association- COMPASS. I will also be visiting to Siliguri in March to understand the local issues. Having said so, it’s an open market and anybody can sell anywhere, but we will monitor the as per the law and reach an amicable solution.”

On their part Pawan Jajodia, COMPASS President, said, “We have not got any complaint from CIITA and NITO, so we can’t comment on the issue.”

According to sources, the leading partners from Kolkata including Saboo Computers, Technocrat, Balaji and others are indulging in this unfair trade practices and dividing the local market of Siliguri.

Baid also added, “We will start forcing companies originating ‘out of Siliguri’ to close down their respective branches in the area. NITO has considered this move as an ‘encroachment on the local market.’ We have evidence against these Kolkata partners, who lure our employees for the sake of local customers database. We want to harmoniously resolve the issues and we are hopeful our state association’s intervention will end this on-going crisis.”