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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Gurgaon: Fear of third wave keeps industry workers and orders at bay

There are two major industries located in Gurgaon — the automobile industry and the garment industry. Both, officials said, are facing a shortage of labour and demand.

Written by Sakshi Dayal | Gurgaon |
Updated: June 30, 2021 4:37:20 pm
The automobile industry is one of the two major industries located in Gurgaon. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal, File)

The impact of the “rumours” of a third wave is being felt among the industries located in Gurgaon, with officials from different industry associations saying these are keeping both workers and business at bay, and hindering the attempts of the industries in the district to limp back to normal.

There are two major industries that are located in Gurgaon – the automobile industry and the garment industry. In both, officials say, there is currently a shortage of both labour and demand.

“Business has started picking up, but it is not as much as normal. This rumour of a third wave has created a panic among the workers and the orders. This time the Haryana Government acted smartly in at least allowing the factories to work, which resulted in a lot of workers staying back. Even from those who returned to their villages, at least 60 to 70 per cent are back. Those who are still in villages are reluctant to return for two reasons – normally workers anyway return to their villages in April, May, June due to the farming season, but there are also many who have not come back fearing another lockdown since there is a rumour of a third wave,” said Ashok Kohli, president of the Chamber of Industries of Udyog Vihar.

Reiterating these points, Animesh Saxena, CEO of Neetee Apparel LLP and President of Udyog Vihar Industrial Association said, “Right now, in the garment industry, we have reached around 60 per cent of the normal business. This is any way our lean period, but there is also the fact that in the Western market, except for USA, in places like Europe and Australia, there is a fear of infection rising again, which has put a lot of buyers on hold. They are waiting to have more clarity on the situation.”

Deepak Maini, General Secretary of the Haryana Chapter of the Federation of Indian Industry also stated that the fear of a third wave was among the reasons why several workers were reluctant to return to Gurgaon.

“There is a 30 to 35 per cent shortage of workers right now. Workers are reluctant to return because they feel, firstly, that they will not get their jobs because of the 75 per cent reservation that the government has imposed for Haryana residents, and secondly because they fear that there will be a third wave of infection,” said Maini.

“Orders have improved compared to before but it is not happening as quickly because there is a fear in the market that a third wave will come. Exporters are getting good orders, because orders are coming from countries where the situation is better, but the local industry is not getting as many orders,” he said.

As a result of the orders being lower than expected, officials from several associations said companies are also not pushing workers to return from their villages.

“What is happening generally is that sentiments are low, the demand is still not very high, and companies are operating at around 60 per cent of their capacity. This is because of lack of both demand and labour. There is a lack of labour but companies are also not pushing people to return much because the demand is not that high,” said Saxena.

Reiterating this, Kohli said, “The orders we are getting right now are more than 50 per cent of what would be normal but, with that ratio, we are also not feeling the pinch of workers returning.”

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