804 industrial units in Taloja MIDC belt reopen; lakhs of workers rejoice
Around 804 industrial units in Taloja MIDC belt that had been shut for the past five months have received permission from the state government to start operations from Thursday.
The entire Taloja MIDC belt is now operational for the first time since lockdown was announced. Lakhs of workers employed in the belt have heaved a sigh of relief.
There are a total of 973 units in Taloja industrial belt. Of these, 169 had been operational as they provided essential goods and services. The remaining 804 had been shut resulting in hardship for the employees and the management.
Raigad collector Nidhi Chaudhari has stated that the industries permitted to be reopened in the Taloja belt will be monitored by her officials to ensure strict implementation of the Covid-related guidelines specified for the industries. She has also suggested that the managements will test each of their workers so that the virus does not spread.
Speaking on the permission granted for reopening of the industries, Chaudhari said, “There was some lack of clarity in the guidelines that had resulted in the industries remaining closed. It said that the MMR non-essential industries will not be allowed to be opened. The guidelines were for MMR industries and Taloja is in the municipal corporation area. We had written to the state government to clarify on the issue.”
She added that the state has permitted to open up the industries including those in Taloja. The district was keen to start the industries as it was causing employment issues.
Chaudhari said, “The industries have to work with Covid-appropriate behaviour. We have our officers appointed to verify if the employees are being tested, masks are being worn, physical distancing being maintained, canteens not functioning and other multiple guidelines.”
The Taloja Industries Association (TIA) had been following up on the issue with the state government to get the industries started. Satish Shetty, president of TIA, said, “We had been in touch with all levels of the government and gave representations to deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and Raigad collector Nidhi Chaudhary. We have finally succeeded in our efforts.”
There are over two lakh workers employed in the belt. Most of them were unemployed as the units shut in lockdown period. Shetty added, “Several returned to their native places. Now there will be new job opportunities. We shall follow all the norms and guidelines given by the government and start our operations as we have received the requisite permission.”
Mangesh Suryavanshi, a worker employed in a chemical factory, said, “Our prayers have been answered. I was having a very difficult time managing my family and had to take up some temporary daily wage jobs. Now I can look forward to a steady income.”