India’s automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) Wednesday received permission from the Gurgaon district administration to resume operations at its Manesar plant with 600 employees working in a single shift.
“Maruti has been given permission to operate their Manesar plant, which is in IMT Manesar. They had to prepare the plant first, and when the plant is in a position to safely handle the workers, they can start operations. It is not a permission at that level, but they have to keep us informed about when they start the operations,” said VS Kundu, the monitoring officer appointed by the state for COVID-19 in Gurgaon.
According to officials, although the company had applied for permission to operate with 4,696 employees, they have received permission to put only 600 to work.
“They have a total of 9,800 employees at that plant, and had applied for 50 per cent of those as per the Government of India guidelines, but we have allowed them to start operations with 600. We want them to first work out their system for the safety of their workers, which for us is of paramount importance, and we don’t want economic activity to overshadow the preventive work. When this operation stabilises, we will consider scaling it up to more number of employees,” said Kundu.
Officials from Maruti Suzuki, however, said they are still unclear on if and when they will resume operations, saying the plant “cannot operate in isolation”.
“Our Manesar plant cannot operate independent of the Gurgaon unit because components move between both of these. We have applied for permission for the Gurgaon unit but have not yet received an update. We are in discussion with the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon regarding this,” said a company spokesperson.
“Also, some parts come from different parts of the country, such as Punjab, which is completely locked down, so we are still evaluating whether we can start operations in Manesar or not. The final decision has not yet been taken,” he said.
Even as relaxations were given to industries in several parts of the country to start operations from April 20, Kundu had, on Sunday evening, clarified that this would not be the case in Gurgaon, which has recorded 41 cases of coronavirus so far.
“No industry or establishment other than those already permitted for essential services will be allowed to operate. Any such industry/establishment which could be granted permission under the MHA guidelines has to apply for the permission and a decision will be taken on their application by an authorised committee,” he had said.
Since then, officials have been saying that the administration has received 300 applications from industries looking to resume operations. Permission has been granted to only “around 30” of these.
“There is also a limit that the Government of Haryana has imposed upon the number of passes that can be issued in areas, so we have to observe that limit also. Therefore, we are only allowing either essential services or services which can give a wage-earning platform to workers situated in the premises,” said Kundu.
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