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In Aurangabad’s industrial belt, as units struggle to survive, queues of jobseekers get longer

The industries are gradually reopening under a strict government protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, but with no demand yet, production is still slow. Companies are finding it hard to pay existing staff

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Aurangabad | Updated: August 8, 2020 4:06:23 am
Aurangabad industrial belt, aurangabad factories, aurangabad industrial belt jobs, midc, aurangabad jobs, indian express news Satish Salunkhe (in blue handkerchief) with friends. (Photo by Tabassum Barnagarwala)

With face mask on and crumpled resumes in their hands, they wait outside factories hoping the human resource department head would meet them. On Tuesday, 24-year-old Satish Salunkhe visited six factories to be turned away by each of them. His friends, 22-year-old Amol Jadhav and 27-year-old Karan Navthure, too, had no luck.

The three had lost their jobs when the lockdown began in March. Salunkhe, a BSc graduate, worked at a lift manufacturing unit but is now desperate for any job. Jadhav and Navthure worked in a hotel that has been shut since March.

“It is an emergency situation. I have a mother and a sister at home,” Salunkhe says.

Aurangabad’s industrial hub — pharmaceutical to automobile, IT to textile — has seen thousands rendered unemployed since the coronavirus-induced lockdown began four months ago. The central Maharashtra district is home to 4,500 small and big industries with 3.5 lakh workers of whom 20 per cent are permanent, across five Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporations (MIDCs).

The industries are gradually reopening under a strict government protocol to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease, but with no demand yet, production is still slow. Companies are finding it hard to pay existing staff. In such a scenario, the prospect of new recruitment is slim.

“Earlier, I helped 400 men get work in these factories. Now it is 100-150 in a month,” said Vinod Sabre, a labour contractor, who sits by a tea stall daily to counsel young jobseekers.

Just across the stall is NRB Bearings, India’s largest needle and bearings manufacturer, that had to sack 80 of its 300 staffers at Chikalthana unit in May.

“The production in April-June came down to 10 per cent. If everyone is at home, no one wants to buy a car. If cars are not manufactured, who will buy bearings from us,” the plant’s manager Prashant Kakare said.

Next door, at NHK Automotive Components India Ltd, 84 people were relieved and only two shifts operate now instead of the usual three.

“There are very few orders,” said BB Kakadi (50), a worker. The uncertainty of the monthly salary is a constant companion here. Of eight manufacturing units that The Indian Express visited, seven had laid off 15-80 workers each.

At the district Skill Development, Employment and Entrepreneurship Guidance centre, a government-run organisation, 4,378 unemployed persons have registered since March.

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