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Oxygen diverted, nearly 50 Sanand GIDC units shut shop, workers laid off

Several engineering units in parts of Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodara -- mostly areas that are facing shortage of oxygen, have been forced to shut down too.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
April 26, 2021 10:41:27 pm
Covid-19 India Second Wave, Gujarat coronavirus cases, Gujarat tribal area, Gujarat news, indian expressPeople wait with oxygen cylinders to be refilled outside an Oxygen production unit in Ahmedabad. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

With industrial oxygen was diverted for medical use amid the pandemic, around 50 industrial units dealing with auto components at Sanand Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) have put up the shutters recently, leaving a number of workers out of job.

Several engineering units in parts of Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Rajkot and Vadodara — mostly areas that are facing shortage of oxygen, have been forced to shut down too.

“About 50 engineering units in Sanand GIDC have shut due to lack of oxygen. These are largely auto component and road equipment manufacturers,” Ajit Shah, president of Sanand Industrial Association (SIA) said Monday.

Spread over several hectares, Sanand GIDC has units dealing with engineering, automobiles, semiconductors and electronics. “While some owners are still paying salaries to their workers, many of them have left as there is no work in these units. Large-scale layoffs will create another social crisis, and with the pandemic we cannot even ask the government for oxygen (to resume work in these units),” Shah said.

The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), one of the primary associations representing MSME units across the state, said engineering units dealing with cutting steel are also closing down due to the diversion of oxygen for medical use. “Those units, which have been badly hit, are mostly based in Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad,” Pathik Patwari, the GCCI secretary, said. The chamber, however, did not share data related to the layoffs or the units that have closed down.

The Indian Express had already reported that the large industrial clusters, like the shipbreaking yard in Alang, have almost shut down due to lack of oxygen. “There were 15,000-17,000 migrant workers at Alang in January. With shipbreaking coming to a standstill, more than half of them have left for their homes. The shipbreakers cannot promise their workforce when the oxygen supply, diverted for medical use, will resume and so, they have asked the workers to leave. Work is available only on a few plots as of now. These plots, too, will soon close down,” Sanjay Singh, secretary of Alang Sosiya Ship Recycling and General Workers Association, said.

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