Industrialists demand clear directions on closure of industrial units, containment policy in rural areas

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Written by MANOJ MORE | Pune | Published: June 9, 2020 12:36:12 am

coronavirus, coronavirus in maharashtra, maharastra industries, maharashtra containment zones, industries working guidelines in containment zones in maharashtra, indian express news In one case, five industrial units were shut down when one suspected case emerged, which later turned out to be negative. (Representational Photo)

INDUSTRIALISTS HAVE urged the state government to issue clear directions over excluding industrial units located in rural areas, when a certain place is declared under containment by the district administration. Many of them, who have units in rural areas, have expressed their dissatisfaction over how the Pune district administration is implementing the containment zone policy.

Industrialists from Deccan Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (DCCIA) claimed that entire industrial units as well as neighbouring areas were being declared under containment even if a single case was detected. They alleged that at least 10 industrial units were shut after a single case of Covid-19 was detected.

H P Srivastava, vice-president of DCCIA, told The Indian Express on Monday, “Not just a solitary Covid-19 case, but even if a person tests negative, the entire industrial unit is included under containment zone and remains shut for days. This is not only affecting production but also workers’ livelihood,” he said.

Demanding exclusion of industrial units from containment zones, Srivastava said, “In all, 10 to 15 industrial units must have been closed down in rural areas, including in Bhima Koregaon, Shikrapur and Wagholi, since May 4 when industries reopened. In one case, five industrial units were shut down when one suspected case emerged, which later turned out to be negative. This is nothing but violation of central guidelines. The guidelines issued on May 18 say that if one case is found, the entire industrial unit should not be closed down. Therefore, we are seeking exclusion of industrial units from containment zone policy.”

Prakash Dhoka, chairman of DCCIA, said as the process of unlocking started from June 1, as per guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of Maharashtra dated May 31, more factories were restarting, offices had started functioning and shops were reopening.

“However, despite all precautions at workplaces in factories and offices, one or two cases of Covid-19 can’t be ruled out.”

Raising these issues in a letter sent to Venugopal Reddy, State Principal Secretary (Industry), the DCCIA has sought to draw attention of the state government to a case in Shirur taluka. “Here, the orders for containment zone have been issued not only for the entire residential area, where a suspected case was detected, but also for five factories and warehouses located within a distance of 400 metres to 1 km from the residential area. We have been told that test results have ruled out Covid-19 not only for the person but also family members. Yet, the livelihood of about 1,000 persons is affected as the factories are closed for 14 days and operations have come to a standstill. We request the government to issue clear guidelines…,” Dhoka said in the letter to the principal secretary.

Santosh Patil, Additional Municipal Commissioner of PCMC, said when one positive case was found at a multi-national unit in Pimpri last month, they disinfected the area. “We did not close down the industrial unit. This is as per government guidelines.”

District Collector Naval Kishore Ram said, “If any industrial unit has been closed down only because one positive case was found or a suspected case tested negative, then this is wrong. An entire industrial unit should not be closed down. I have received complaints from industrial units in rural areas regarding declaration of containment zones after one or two cases are found. I have asked officials not to do so, and will issue suitable directives,” he said.

What central guidelines say

If one or two cases are reported, disinfection procedure will be limited to places/areas visited by the patient in the last 48 hours. There is no need to close the entire office building/halt work in other areas of the office and work can be resumed after disinfection, as per protocol.

However, if there is a larger outbreak, the entire building will have to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home till the building is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for reoccupation.

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