Three employees of a Chinese multinational company, Highly Electrical Appliances India Pvt Ltd in Sanand of Ahmedabad, tested positive for Covid-19 on September 3. The same day, two more employees of Chiripal Group tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of “industrial-linked” infections being reported from the industrial clusters of Ahmedabad district to 514.
Of the 20 new positive cases reported from Ahmedabad rural on September 3, five were from the industrial clusters of Sanand and Dholka. Currently, these two clusters account for the maximum number of Covid-19 infections among employees who returned to work after the lockdown was lifted in phases from April 20.
So far, Ahmedabad rural has seen 1,800 positive cases of Covid-19. Of these, 28 percent are being reported from industries that dot the rural landscape of Ahmedabad. Of the nine talukas of Ahmedabad district, the highest number of Covid-19 cases are being reported from Dholka.
Of the total 424 positive cases in Dholka, 137 cases (32 percent) are “industrial-linked”. Similar is the situation in the auto hub of Sanand; of the total 417 cases reported from this taluka, 132 (31.6 percent) cases are linked to industries.
“At least 30 percent of the Covid cases being reported from Ahmedabad district are related to industries. Industrial linked cases also include secondary and tertiary contacts who may have come in contact with a Covid-infected employee,” said a state government official.
The government is conducting special drives in the 800-odd MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) units in Sanand. “We are trying to contain the infection by aggressive testing of employees and selective isolation of those found positive,” the official added. The Covid-19 positive cases in the industry are a concern for the government that is trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, while trying to ensure that the industrial activity continues.
According to Sanand Industrial Association (SIA), which is a body of MSME units in the region, over 12,000 migrant workers have returned from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. “Not all have been tested. Some random tests have been done. Though there are a few positive cases in the industry, the situation is not alarming or worrisome,” said Ajit Shah, president of SIA. There are about 20,000 workers employed in these MSME units in Sanand.
The lowest numbers of Covid cases in industrial clusters have been reported from Dholera (four cases), where a new Special Investment Region (SIR) is being built, and Mandal (29 cases), which houses a Maruti Suzuki plant and has a SIR.
Of the total 1,808 cases in Ahmedabad rural, 985 cases are in municipalities, while 823 cases are from the villages. “About 40 percent of the positive cases in rural Ahmedabad are in municipalities,” the official added.
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