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Delhi Lockdown births fears in industrial areas

The imposition of a curfew in Delhi has caused concern and confusion in industrial areas, with many business groups writing to their local administrations asking if they could be given any operational relief. Last year’s nationwide lockdown and ongoing delays resulted in damages that industrial units across the city are still working to rebound from, with many dwindling or closing down.

Factory owners in the city’s Northwestern belt claim business have been further hampered in recent months as a result of farmers’ highway blockade at the Singhu border, even after the national lockdown. We’ve been expecting some positive news for the past year, but it’s never arrived. According to Ajay Garg, general secretary of the Narela Industrial Complex Welfare Association, manufacturing units haven’t picked up after the first lockdown.

Much of the job in manufacturing is done at different times of the day and night. At night, loading and unloading take place. Units for items like ice cream making and those needing furnaces run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mayapuri Industrial Welfare Association general secretary Sehgal also said that fear has spread among the workers. The staff, the majority of whom are refugees, are terrified after what happened the last time. All of them have expressed a desire to depart back to their villages to ensure at least some food to eat.

Many workers are known to have shown interest in leaving the city after they receive this month’s pay. With the tightening of these limits, workers have become more and more concerned about their welfare and livelihood.

Production in Gurgaon has also been disturbed. The members of trade associations have two major concerns: worry that workers will panic and that there will be a mass migration as they run into a home for the second time in a year and fears of supply chain and demand due to curbs.

The President of the UDYOG VIHAR industrial organization and Neetee Apparel LLP CEO, Animesh Saxena, said, the apprehension is certainly there. No knee reaction should be made by the government, such as closing boundaries or other constraints. The reports of lock-down have led to the panic and transport of staff, resulting in evacuation.

Ideally, they should share a detailed plan to take these precautions if the situation gets worse, so no rumours exist. A very professional, graduated course of action needs to be discussed between business and the public, so there is no panic and people are ready, he says. Ashok Kohli, President of Udyog Vihar’s Chamber of Industries, said: “The real test is demand because our sales rely not just on a single state but also on the entire world…. Demand is at the core of industry”. The only way to escape the economic wrath of this lockdown is to focus more on and encourage the practice of “work from home”.

The deal is we can escape neither the lockdown nor the economic repercussions of it.

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