With the mass migration of labourers and skilled workers due to COVID-19 pandemic, the micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been facing a hard time resuming the operations. The owners of the MSMEs in Pune have claimed that they are facing difficulties resuming operations due to the absence of skilled workers.
While speaking with ANI, Sandeep Belsare, Owner of Shree Engineering company and president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Industries Association, elaborated how the region's MSMEs are facing issues over the mass migration of workers.
"There are 11,000 MSMEs in Pimpri Chinchwad. Before the lockdown, there were 4.50 lakh workers employed here. Out of these 4.50 lakh workers, 3 lakh workers were from outside the state and the city. On the basis of reliable estimates, around 2 to 2.50 lakh workers have migrated back to their villages," Sandeep Belsare said.
"Many of the workers had taken payments of March and April and still they had left for their homes. We are planning to talk to the government officials to upskill the youth of the state to reduce our dependence on migrant workers from other states," he added.
Belsare affirmed that the industries are following all the necessary protocols and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) laid down by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to prevent the spread of the virus.
"Beginning with May 13, the government has allowed us to operate our workshops at 33 per cent workforce. Around 7,000 industries have taken permission to operate from MIDC. MIDC has recommended a set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which the industries are following to avoid COVID-19 spread," he said.
Nisaar Sutar, Managing Director of Olive Group Of Companies (MNC) said, "65-75 per cent of our workforce were from outside Maharashtra. 50 per cent of workers have left for their homes, although we were providing them with help. Our business is down by 70 per cent and will remain so for 4-5 months."
Sandip Nilakh, Production head and Operation Incharge of Quadrogen India Private Limited said: "The migrant labourers were mostly skilled and many of them have left from here. Our products generally get exported so we maintain quality standards of a very high level. In view of our requirements, it has become very difficult for us to sustain our operations in the absence of skilled labour."
One of the industrialists said: "I had 25 workers working with my company of which 23 were migrants and all of them have returned due to COVID19, now with two workers remaining, I can't start operations in my unit."
The Centre has been running Shramik special trains to facilitate the transportation of migrants to their native home times during the COVID-19 crisis. The Indian Railways has run more than 1,600 'Shramik Special' trains since May 1 and ferried over 21.5 lakh migrants back home, the national transporter said on Tuesday. Of the total trains deployed, more than 900 trains were bound to Uttar Pradesh, while Bihar permitted 428 and Madhya Pradesh over 100. The retrieval of the migrants has left a vacuum among the industrial sector which is experiencing a set back in the resumption of the operations.
(With ANI inputs)