The Pune District Collectorate on Thursday indicated that industries will be allowed to function soon, but with a limited number of employees and only if they strictly follow social distancing norms.
This will bring cheer to over 10,000 industrial units and lakhs of workers in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Bhosari, who have had no work since the nationwide lockdown came into force.
“We are in the process of allowing industrial units in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Bhosari MIDC areas to start functioning. But this will have to be done with limited number of workers and by strictly following social distancing norms. We are working on the plans and guidelines regarding this will be issued to the industries soon,” District Collector Naval Kishore Ram told The Indian Express on Thursday.
Till now, only industries located in rural areas of Pune district have been allowed to operate, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the central government.
His comments come after Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said some decision about restarting industries would be taken. “Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are in ‘red zones’… and that’s why we have not been able to restart the industries. I have asked the divisional commissionerate and district collectorate to see whether industries which are outside the containment zone in the MIDC area can be re-started by following social distancing norms. The local administration has been asked to talk to representatives of the industries and chalk out an effective plan,” Pawar told The Indian Express.
Ram said the administration will hold discussions with representatives of industries. “The industries should come up with a concrete plan on how social distancing norms will be followed. Industries can be allowed to function, but we will have to ensure that this does not lead to spread of the infection. That is why we need to have concrete plan in hand before we give the green signal,” he said.
Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small-Scale Industries, said, “… I spoke to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and urged him to allow industrial units in Pimpri-Chinchwad-Bhosari and neighbouring areas to restart. When industrial units in Chakan, Talegaon and Ranjangaon can be started, why can’t they be started in Pimpri-Chinchwad…,” he said.
Belsare said he urged Pawar to allow industries outside the containment zones to restart, after assurances from the industries that they will follow social distancing norms. “Pawar said we will make efforts to get the industries retarted,” he said.
Belsare said there are over 5000 small, medium and major industries in Pimpri-Chinchwad and nearly 6,000 in the neighbouring industrial areas. “Many industries have not been able to complete their orders. Several have not received payments from their clients. Scores of them have not paid salaries to their employees. Something needs to be done quickly to get things in order,” he said.
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