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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Manufacturers take onus, shut plants to combat virus surge

While Hero MotoCorp on Saturday announced an extension of its shutdown of plants by six more days till May 9, JCB India, a leading manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipments, on Friday announced a 10-day pause across all its manufacturing facilities in India, beginning May 1.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
May 3, 2021 1:57:54 am
Industry insiders say while many companies in the medium- and small-scale industry have also taken decision to shut down their plants temporarily, many more companies are contemplating such a decision.

Even as state governments are still contemplating complete shutdowns, manufacturers have started announcing shutdown of their plants in the wake of rising Covid cases. While Hero MotoCorp on Saturday announced an extension of its shutdown of plants by six more days till May 9, JCB India, a leading manufacturer of earthmoving and construction equipments, on Friday announced a 10-day pause across all its manufacturing facilities in India, beginning May 1.

Maruti Suzuki India, last week, announced the advancing of its June maintenance shutdown to May and close production in all factories between May 1 and May 9. All the three are industry leaders. While Hero MotoCorp is the largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the country, Maruti Suzuki and JCB are leaders in their segment. Industry insiders say many more companies are contemplating shutting production for a week, keeping in mind safety of their employees and to help break the chain and spread of coronavirus.

Among others, MG Motor and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India have also announced temporary suspension of production at their respective facilities. Toyota Kirloskar Motor, too, has undertaken scheduled annual maintenance programme across both its plants from April 26 to May 14.

JCB India cited the rising number of Covid cases for this temporary suspension of production across its facilities at Ballabgarh, Pune and Jaipur.

“We have decided to pause manufacturing operations for 10 days, starting 1st of May 2021… It is important to break the chain of the infection. Most of our employees in our offices are already working from home and this temporary pause of manufacturing activities will further help in lowering the active number of cases in and around our manufacturing facilities,” said Deepak Shetty, CEO and MD, JCB India.

The company, however, said it has built sufficient inventory levels to support demand for its products during this period.

Last week, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India announced temporart shutdown of its four manufacturing plants for 15 days with effect from May 1, 2021.

MG Motor India, too, had last week announced shutdown of its facility in Halol, Gujarat for seven days — from April 29 to May 5.

While Hero MotoCorp had halted plant operations temporarily in a staggered manner for four days from April 22-May 1, citing rapid escalation in the spread of Covid-19 across the country, on Sunday it announced to extend the plant closure till May 9.

“In keeping with its commitment to the safety and welfare of its people and to break the chain of the spread of Coronavirus, Hero MotoCorp has decided to extend the shutdown at its manufacturing facilities across India, its Global Parts Center (GPC) in Neemrana and the R&D facility — the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in Jaipur by another six days till May 9, 2021. The plant operations will resume on May 10,” the company said.

Industry insiders say while many companies in the medium- and small-scale industry have also taken decision to shut down their plants temporarily, many more companies are contemplating such a decision.

While the Central government has maintained that it would not go for a full-scale lockdown as both lives and livelihood are important, the sharp rise in Covid cases across the country has forced many companies to take their own call and are going for plant shutdowns for the safety of their employees.

Many feel that the governments decision to allow vaccination of all adults is a good decision and it will help them continue with their manufacturing unhindered once their workers (mostly falling in the age group of 20 and 45) get vaccinated.

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