The requirement for one to remain in isolation for 14 days after undertaking inter-state travel is hindering the movement of labour and resulting in the loss of productive man hours, according to an industry body based in Gandhidham town of Kutch. It has, therefore, demanded that the government should replace this provision with subjecting such workers to Covid-19 tests upon entering the state, so that industries which are facing acute labour shortage in Kutch may mobilise required manpower.
Federation of Kutch Industries Association (FOKIA) has written a letter Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, demanding that the provision requiring one to remain in quarantine after inter-state travel be done away with. Instead, labourers should be asked to undergo a test for coronavirus at the cost of the industrial unit hiring them. Those who test negative should be allowed to join work immediately, while the ones found to test positive can be sent for medical treatment, it demanded.. FOKIA added that the same is urgently needed as industries in Kutch are searching replacement for over 50,000 migrant workers who have left the district due to the nationwide lockdown following the outbreak of Covid-19.
“Entrepreneurs are trying to find replacement from other states, but are feeling helpless because of the 14-day quarantine clause… (which) is unfortunately a deterring factor in bringing in the replacement labourers… We would suggest you allow district administration to conduct Covid-19 tests on incoming labourers while entering the district, so that the 14-days quarantine period can be used for productive work. The industries are ready to bear the cost towards conducting the test,” FOKIA Managing Director Nimish Phadke wrote in his letter to the CM on May 27.
“The units in the district are also trying to resume industrial activities, but are facing tough challenges because of the approximately 50,000 plus (sic) labourer migration from the district. The two sea ports, that fall under essential services and are handling approximately 35% of the country’s total cargo, are also facing operational issues because of labour shortage,” the FOKIA letter read.
Talking to The Indian Express on Friday, Phadke said, “Kandla and Mundra ports, as well as textile, saw pipe industry, marine chemicals industry, edible oil industry, sawmills, etc. are facing severe labour shortage due to migrant labourers leaving for their native states. It is unlikely that they will return soon… Additionally, there is a shortage of labour for loading-unloading of cargo, truck drivers, etc. and semi-skilled persons who are registered as unemployed may not be interested in taking up menial jobs,” he said.
“Presently, the laboratory in GK General Hospital is the only Covid-19 testing facility in the district. But it has limited capacity and can conduct only 90 tests per day… There is a need to augment the testing facility. Additionally, if one wants to get their samples tested for Covid-19 at a private laboratory, they are required to obtain permission from the chief district health officer. These restrictions can be eased to help the industry,” the MD added.
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