Factories producing essential goods allowed to call their workers back to work from March 27Updated: Mar 26, 2020 23:06 IST
After a gap of five days, factories engaged in manufacturing essential goods such as milk, food items, masks, sanitisers, wheelchairs, medical equipment, medicines, etc., have been allowed to call their workers back to work from Friday. Decision was taken at a meeting between industry owners and officials of the district labour department on Thursday.
A representative group of industry owners of Manesar met officials seeking permission to call their workers from Friday based on the reasoning that they produce essential goods that suit the current crisis.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called a nationwide lockdown from the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday to fight the spread of Covid-19. The factories have been shut since Sunday when the PM called for a Janta Curfew.
There are around 25 factories in Manesar and Udyog Vihar that are engaged in producing the essential goods as described in several notifications of the state and central government in the light of the lockdown, such as milk, food items, masks, sanitisers, wheelchairs, medical equipment, medicines, etc.
Ramesh Ahuja, deputy labour commissioner, said, “Industry owners can apply online for workers’ passes and the department will issue the same within 24 hours after reviewing the reasons and purposes. If the committee formed for this purpose by the government is satisfied with the reason, the passes will be issued to industry owners or the management or sent to individual workers directly if their contacts and email addresses are mentioned.”
The workers’ safety and their transportation from work to home and vice versa will be the responsibility of the industry owners, he added.
“It is the responsibility of industry owners to manage workers’ transportation since public transport is shut down,” Ahuja said.
CONCERN ABOUT SOCIAL DISTANCING
However, there are concerns that allowing workers back in factories will defeat the purpose of a lockdown in terms of social distancing.
Pawan Yadav, president of IMT Industrial Association Manesar, said, “We held a meeting in this regard with the officials. We have requested our members to be careful while applying for restarting their factories on grounds of manufacturing essential goods. In the manufacturing of goods, there is requirement of many other supporting items that the company procure from other companies and then it will involve business as usual. This may defeat the government’s purpose of social distancing to break the chain of Covid-19 spread.”
Industry owners also fear that workers might not join work, fearing Covid-19. “We doubt workers will join factories these days. Then transportation of goods from factories to retailers or consumers will be another challenge,” Ashok Kohli, president of the chamber of industries, Udyog Vihar, said.
The district administration on Thursday formed a committee comprising five officials to review the applications before issuing passes.
“There is a link on the administration’s website through which one can apply online and it will be reviewed by the official concerned/member of the committee. Passes will be issued only when reasons are genuine,” KS Dhaka, another member of the committee, said.