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Gurugram: Smaller units can run operations, says Haryana govt

By Abhishek Behl and Dhananjay Jha
PUBLISHED ON MAY 01, 2020 11:23 PM IST

Gurugram: The Haryana government’s latest direction on Thursday to resume industrial operations across the state had paved the way for smaller units, which have less than 10 workers, and those which have workers on the project site or at factory premises, to function across the state. The government also said that out of the total of 22 districts, permission to large business units in 14 districts that are in the green zone can be obtained at the click of a button through the government’s Saral portal. However, for the remaining eight districts of the state, including Gurugram, permission to operate large units would have to be sought from the district administration.

“For industries, commercial establishments and construction projects employing less than 10 workers in any of the 22 districts of the state, there is no need to seek permission from the state government and these units may resume operations subject to social distancing norms and other requirements, mentioned in MHA (ministry of home affairs) guidelines”, said a government notification issued Thursday.

Permissions in eight districts -- including Gurugram, Faridabad, Palwal, Nuh, Sonipat and Panipat -- would be based on the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases identified in a block, zone or town; if the number reaches 10, the permission to operate will cease, said a government spokesperson on Friday.

Also, business units in all 22 districts of the state having labour on site would be allowed to operate, with all the workers present in their premises, as per standard operating procedure (SOP), the order said.

TVSN Prasad, additional chief secretary, Haryana, who drafted the revised guidelines for industrial and commercial establishments, issued after a cabinet meeting on Thursday in continuation of the previous guidelines of April 19, said: “In a district like Gurugram, which is a sensitive zone in light of Covid-19, the administration has to assess block-wise cases. In case in any block, 10 coronavirus cases have come up in the last 28 days, all permissions will be withdrawn from industries. This is a clear guideline and the district administration has to assess this.”

The decision to grant permissions on the basis of block-wise assessment has, however, left business and industry owners dejected as they were hoping that change of Gurugram’s status from red to orange zone will bear positive results and eliminate the need for permissions. Though owners welcomed the decision of the government to let run smaller units without added permissions, they said there was no clarity on how the workers will travel to work and from and who will issue passes for them.

Giving some hope, VS Kundu, chief executive officer, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, who is also the monitoring official for Covid-19 in the district, said that they will facilitate permissions to industries faster in line with the directions of the state government. “We will try to accelerate the process so that industry and business owners can resume operations, as it is crucial for the workforce to earn their livelihood,” he said, adding that an additional option will be soon made on the Saral portal for permissions to industrial units.

City-based industrialists, however, said they want more clarity from the government on whether industrial units below 10 persons can resume operations without the intervention of the administration or not. They also want the government to clear the confusion among industry owners who said they want “proper and clearer” guidelines for a sensitive district like Gurugram.

“Though Udyog Vihar comes in Gurugram block which has Covid-19 cases, not a single case was found in this industrial township. The parameter of 10 cases in a block is harsh; we will have to shut down our industries and send back all workers and then wait for directions from the government,” said Sanjiv Puri, a garment export business owner.

A group of industry owners, who called on officials of the department of industries and commerce (DIC) in the city, also said that they did not get any definite answers regarding resumption of industrial units.

“Although we were told that companies with less than 10 workers can start operations, it is not clear who will issue passes. There is a need for more clarity on the issue,” said Deepak Maini, chairman, Industrial Development Association, Sector 37.

Industrialists also said that with the Delhi border sealed and strict curbs on movement, it is difficult for even those workers who have valid passes to reach Udyog Vihar or units in Manesar. “We have sought clarifications from the government regarding the status of industry in the city in light of this notification,” said JN Mangla, president, Gurgaon Industrial Association.

They say the guidelines issued by the government have also unnerved them as if businesses do not resume operations within seven days of permission, the permit will be withdrawn and the firm will be sealed.

Ashok Kohli, president of Chamber of Industries, Udyog Vihar, said, “This is a very confusing guideline. We do not know if these guidelines allow us to resume operations or are asking us to wait for the Covid-19 virus to subside.”

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