Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Thursday said the government has decided to allow operations of export-oriented industries, situated in urban areas outside containment zones, from April 25. Such industries will have to seek permission from the district collector concerned and comply with safety provisions.
Industries, however, remain cautious and concerned about the clause in the guidelines that state that employers could face FIRs if any employee was found to be COVID-19 positive.
Secretary to the Chief Minister, Ashwani Kumar, told mediapersons Thursday, “The Chief Minister has given instructions that those industrial units who export with pending export orders and situated in urban areas that are not within containment zones can resume their operations from April 25.”
The state government has already allowed operations of industrial units outside urban limits from April 20. Kumar added that more than 35,000 industrial units have already started functioning while giving employment to 3.25 lakh labourers. He also said that consumption of water by industries in GIDC areas indicates that 50% of industries there have started functioning fully.
CM Rupani has also decided to consider various companies’ donations to Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) to fight COVID-19 pandemic as their spending
on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The decision came following representations made by Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) before the government.
Industry associations, after meeting state government representatives in the past two days, said the state government has assured that no FIRs will be filed against factory owners related to COVID-19.
The Sanand Industries Association that held a meeting with M Thennarasan, vice-chairman of GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation), on Thursday said the issue related to a provision in the guidelines that an FIR will be filed against factory owners if a positive case of COVID-19 is reported at their units came up for discussion.
“Though the official did not commit on the issue, he assured us saying that adequate representation has been made by the Gujarat government with the Centre regarding the same,” Ajit Shah, president of the Association, said.
This issue regarding FIRs also came up during a meeting of office-bearers of GCCI with the state government on Wednesday. “We have been assured by the state government that no FIRs will be filed against the industrial units and a clarification on the matter will be issued soon,” said Pathik Patwari, an office-bearer of GCCI.
An industrialist who started his unit on Tuesday said, “Though a number of industries have got permission to restart their units, many have not started production because of the penal clause. There is also a danger that the units which have begun like us will also close down.”
On April 19, Gandhinagar-based Federation of Industries and Associations wrote to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani saying that harsh penalties, including the filing of FIRs, are “tantamount to treating industrialists as criminals”.
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