25 industries to resume operations this week
At least 25 industrial units and companies in the district can resume operations this week as they are likely to get approval by Wednesday morning, officials privy to the matter said on Tuesday. The development comes two days after the Haryana government released a standard operating procedure (SOP) for reopening industrial units amid the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
VS Kundu, who is the monitoring official for Covid-19 preparations in Gurugram, said that auto major “Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) would be able to commence production” at its Manesar plant from this week. Kundu is also the CEO of Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority.
On Sunday, officials had said that industries would have to apply through the Saral portal for approval. On Monday, the state portal was opened for accepting online applications from the industries and companies.
According to officials, within 24 hours from Monday afternoon till Tuesday afternoon, the portal received more than 500 applications from industrial units in the district, excluding units already in operations supplying essential goods.
“We have received about 500 applications, of which 25 to 30 will be granted permission as their scrutiny is underway. Hopefully, by Wednesday morning they will receive permissions to resume operations of factories with strict guidelines of Covid-19 lockdown. The industries have been informed of the guidelines through media and by all other relevant sources,” Kundu said.
The Gurugram labour department, too, confirmed that by Wednesday morning it will hand out permission to 25 to 30 firms for resuming operations. The companies, which are likely to be granted permission, range from a Korean firm requiring a single pass to auto major Maruti Suzuki, said labour department officials.
Maruti Suzuki has applied for both of its plants at Gurugram and Manesar, but till now there is no communication from the government regarding approval, said a spokesperson for MSIL.
The labour department, which is playing a key role in resumption of industrial activities, said that permissions are being given on ‘first come first serve’ basis, and units will be allowed to open in a gradual manner.
“The process of approvals is dynamic and those companies which have already done the groundwork for social distancing will get preference. If permission is given for 100 passes, all of these should not be utilized in one go and employees should be called in a phased manner,” said Munish Sharma, additional labour commissioner, Gurugram.
Sharma also said that initially passes are being given so that firms can mark spots for social distancing at entrance, mark six feet distance at shop floor, ensure lifts are not used and if used they should be divided into squares so that only three to four people are inside.
“In rural areas such as Manesar, some industries at IMT Manesar are being given permission as we have limited number of passes. Construction projects inside the municipal limits will only be given permission if the labour force is staying at project sites,” the additional labour commissioner said.
Meanwhile, industry owners expressed unhappiness over the delay in granting permissions as they have to pay salaries to employees for April. Representatives of various industry associations on Tuesday met deputy commissioner (DC) Amit Khatri in this regard.
Pawan Yadav, president of IMT Manesar Industrial Association, said, “We are not in good financial condition to pay salaries to our employees this month and we have sought help from the DC. We hope the government will consider our appeal.”
The industrialists stated that during March and April, a large number of labourers usually migrate to their villages for working in their farms, but due to lockdown this did not happen. They said that the small industries, which are not in good financial condition, will face a lot of problems if they are not able to pay salaries for April.
“Despite giving passes, a number of workers are not coming citing transport and security issues,” said an industrialist, who preferred anonymity.
When asked, Khatri said, “The industrial representatives met me and submitted their requests. I will do the needful.”
In Gurugram, there are 11 lakh employees engaged in over 7,000 industries which are observing closure for the past four weeks.
The labour department said that those BPOs, which are providing service to government, will be allowed to operate. IT and IT-enabled services companies will be allowed to operate at half the strength while they will also be allowed to shift their employees from Delhi or Faridabad for one time only, the officials said. Besides, only those employees would be allowed to work who either have a medical insurance or health insurance. The employees must also download the Arogya Setu mobile application, and strictly follow social distancing norms, the officials said.
Kundu said that primary objective of government is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. “All safeguards and measures will have to be followed by the firms to ensure there is no spread of the disease,” he said.
In neighbouring Faridabad, officials said that resumption of industries would be done in phases and only units located in industrial estates would be allowed operations. “We have received applications from around 150 units and they are being scrutinized,” said Yashpal Yadav, deputy commissioner, Faridabad.
On Monday night, the Haryana government withdrew its decision to allow the opening of book shops and showrooms selling air-conditioners and coolers.
“In larger public interest, this order has been withdrawn,” said Yadav.