Fifty-three days after they were closed due to Covid-19 pandemic, around 1,000 industrial units in Rajkot city resumed their operations on Thursday with permission from the district administration. However, industrial unit owners said they were facing shortage of labour and working capital.
On state government directive, the Rajkot district administration started issuing permissions to industrial units within the jurisdiction of Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) from Thursday.
On Wednesday, the administration authorised 12 industry bodies in the city to issue permits to industrial units in the city and deputed officers to oversee the process. Accordingly, the industry bodies started issuing permits to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the city from Thursday morning.
“Around 1,000 out of approximately 10,000 units in the city resumed operations in the morning,” Rajkot District Collector Remya Mohan told The Indian Express.
The collector said that long queues were witnessed at 12 registration centres. “To speed up the process of issuing permits, we have decided to double the number of officers deputed at these centres who scrutinise and approve applications for restarting industrial units,” said Mohan.
For getting permission, an industry owner is required to furnish an undertaking that social distancing will be observed on the premises and that arrangements would be made to sanitise the premises. Details of workers and staff employed in the unit also should be provided.
However, those who managed to restart their units said they were facing shortage of labour and capital. “I could resume work at my four units but I had to manage with half of the manpower required as many workers have left for their hometowns in Uttar Pradesh. Working capital is also a big issue since the business cycle has been disturbed for long,” said Ganesh
Raninga, owner of 23 units that do turning, hardening and tampering, employing around 2800 people.
Rajkot is known for its MSMEs with operations in sectors ranging from foundry and forging to manufacturing automobile parts and engineering goods. But thousands of migrant workers have left the city to their native states due to the lockdown.
“I had three workers in my unit. But one worker from Uttar Pradesh called me to inform that he was leaving. Now, I will have to find a replacement,” said Hitesh Pitroda of Vishwakarma Bending, a small unit in Atika area of the city, which does bending work.
Nilesh Shah, owner of a packaging material manufacturing unit in Atika, who is also part of a team tasked to issue permission, said there are around 12 micro and small units in Atika.
“We have distributed 1,200 forms and 500 units were given permissions to resume operations on Thursday itself. Total 930 unit owners have submitted applications. We are targeting to issue permits to all of them by Friday afternoon,” Shah said.
The collector said that there are approximately 30,000 MSMEs in Rajkot district and that those in rural areas were allowed to resume operations from April 20.
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