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Pimpri-Chinchwad: Already facing severe shortage of workers, industries to be hit hard by extended period of restrictions

Abhay Bhor, president of the Forum for Small Scale Industries, said large-scale migration of workers has already hit industries, which are grappling with a 50 per cent of labour shortage.

Written by Partha Sarathi Biswas | Pune |
Updated: April 29, 2021 11:56:11 pm
Pune news, Pimpri news, Pune lockdown, Maharashtra lockdown, Maharashtra lockdown extension, mumbai news, indian expressMigrant workers queue up at the Pune railway station. (Express photo by Arul Horizon)

Industrial units in Pimpri-Chinchwad are facing an uncertain future with the pandemic restrictions set to be extended by another 15 days. Around 40-45 per cent of the 11,500 units in Pimpri Chinchwad — which are not among essential units and have been closed — say that further extension of the restrictions would have a devastating impact.

Abhay Bhor, president of the Forum for Small Scale Industries, said large-scale migration of workers has already hit industries, which are grappling with a 50 per cent of labour shortage. “Women workers who form a sizeable amount of the workforce are unable to come to work as there is no public transport. Also, as several labourers are testing positive for the infection, they are on leave. Because of the combined effect of all these factors, the sector is working with just 50 per cent of its workforce,” he said.

Other than essential services and units which cater to export sectors, all other industrial units have had to cease operations under the state government’s restrictions. Units which were allowed to operate had to follow standard operating procedures, which include testing workers every 15 days, and temperature and oxygen saturation checks at the start and end of shifts.

The industries are following all the SOPs, said Sandeep Belsare, president of the Pimpri Chinchwad Small Scale Industries Association. The current restrictions have come at a time when the industries had sizeable good orders pending. Units linked to process engineering or manufacturing sector, which have been asked to cease operations, are on the verge of bankruptcy, said Belsare.

While the industry is facing constraints of raw material supply, the bigger concern is of financial issues and labour crunch. According to Belsare, an extended lockdown would lead to more migration of labour, which would hit the industrial sector further. Lack of clarity in the SOPs and other government orders have also hampered the working of the industries. Both Bhor and Belsare said that unless there is clarity about the operation of industrial units, Maharashtra may see mass-scale migration of small units to other states.

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