Tata Motors on Friday announced it was preparing to temporarily shut down its operations at its Pune plant from March 24 “if the situation warrants”. The announcement by the auto manufacturer, which makes trucks and passenger cars at its Pune factory, came on a day on which Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray called for a complete lockdown in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
“We have been monitoring the situation closely and all data seem to point out that Maharashtra has been the most impacted. In the interest of safety of our employees in the state, we have decided to rapidly scale down activities at Pune site to get to skeletal operations by end of Monday, 23rd March 2020, and be ready for plant closure by end Tuesday March 24th, 2020 if the situation warrants,” a statement by Tata Motors read.
The lockdown decision has unnerved the large number of manufacturing units in the city, mainly small and medium sector enterprises who are also facing the prospect of an immediate closure of operations. Industry leaders said they had sought some time from the administration to wind up their operations. During a telephonic meeting with the chairman of Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, where most of these industries are located, the industry leaders put forward the difficulties in effecting an immediate closure.
They pointed out that while work from home was a feasible option for the software industry, it was not a choice available to the manufacturing sector.
“Mentally we have prepared for reducing our workforce by 50 per cent but the new developments poses fresh challenge for us. We have requested the government to give us 2-3 days before we completely cease our operations,” Pramod Chaudhari, executive chairman of Praj Industries said.Another representative who was present for the telephonic meeting said it was not possible for his processing unit to completely shut down their operations. Such industries have asked the government to allow them to work with skeletal staff.
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