PANCHKULA INDUSTRIES functioned at two percent capacity Wednesday, two days after the central government lifted all bans and asked industries to begin functioning and slowly restore to a normal pace.
Several associations of industrialists pinpointed many reasons for this small percentage, the prime being the registration of FIRs against them if any of their labour were to test positive. All of them say, ‘they cannot be responsible for all those who work under them at all times.’
“The regulations being delivered by MHA are not suitable for any of us. Most of us are scared to begin functioning. Even if we set aside the issue of criminal charges against us, we are facing a lot of difficulty in finding labour and raw material to begin functioning even at 10 percent”, said Rakesh Garg, who is the General Secretary of Panchkula Industries Association.
Several meetings are being held between the presidents of these associations and the administration but no avail say the industrialists.
“While the nodal officers and district officials want to help us, they do not have everything under their control. The guidelines come from a much higher place that they cannot ignore. The meetings are only re-assuring us they are listening and not doing anything other than that”, Garg said.
Garg, whose factory manufactures PPE kits for the government, has remained shut as he has not been given permission to move out of Chandigarh where he resides. “If I myself cannot move out, how do they expect us to bring in labour, most of whom come from neighbouring Punjab, Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh”, he said. “Then we are being asked to house the labour with us, but what they do not understand is, our factories are built in limited areas. There is no space to house them. A person needs several things like rooms with fans and bathrooms. How can we build them without space or labour”, he continued.
Questioning the move to file FIR, he says, “Government is non-cooperative. If they want to file FIRs against us, why aren’t they doing the same for themselves when one of their staff is being found COVID-19 positive.”
According to reports, even the two percent functioning are the pharmaceutical companies who themselves are finding it hard to stay afloat without raw material and labour.
According to the Joint Director of District Industries Centre, Gaurav Sharma, while maximum factories Panchkula all work with metal and produce auto parts et al. We also have pharmaceutical companies in abundance especially at the Industrial Phases of Panchkula and at Barwala.
While as many 1862 industrial units have been registered, a total number of 2430 Industrial units actually function in the district, states a document of MSME in Panchkula issued by the district in 2013. According to Gaurav, the number has grown to roughly 4300 in the current year.
Auto Parts, PCB, Medicines injectable, Connectors, Decorative & Industrial Laminates, Machine Tools, Engineering goods, Leather Shoes, Chemicals, and Tractors are the majority of the products exported out of the city.
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