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Auto hub awaits return of migrant workers to resume full-fledged operations

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on July 08, 2020 Published on July 08, 2020

Over 750 industrial units in Chakan, which employee about 2.5 lakh workers, are unable to start full-fledged operations   -  Bloomberg

Pune industrial units want the govt to take a call on the transportation of workers

The Pune region, one of India’s largest auto hubs that houses auto majors, is limping back to normalcy with fewer workers and industries have demanded that the State government make arrangements to bring back migrant workers. Pune district has over 1.3 lakh registered MSMEs and 650-700 large-scale units. Together, they employ 17 lakh people, the majority of them are migrant workers.

Sandeep Belsare, President of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Small and Medium Scale Industries Association, said that migrant workers who have left for their home States after Covid-19 outbreak are not yet back. “About 60 per cent companies have started work and the State government must start special buses to bring workers stuck in different parts of Maharashtra,” he said.

According to the Forum of Small Scale Industries Association in Pimpri Chinchwad, there are 7-8 lakh workers in the auto sector, the majority of whom are from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha.

A recent survey conducted by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) found that on an average, 24 per cent of labour working in surveyed companies is from outside Maharashtra and on an average 31 per cent is from Maharashtra but from outside Pune district. About 19 per cent companies said they are not facing challenges when it comes to labour while 50 per cent said they are facing “moderate challenges”. About 22 per cent faced “severe” labour challenges and 9 per cent “very severe” challenges.

Over 750 industrial units in Chakan, which employ about 2.5 lakh workers, are unable to start full-fledged operations. According to Chakan Industrial Association, migrant workers who want to return to work are not able to do so because of lack of transport facilities. The association wants the government to take a call on the transportation of migrant workers.

Job portal launched

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has appealed to the locals to step in and fill the gap. He said that local workers should take the opportunity and join the workforce to make Maharashtra self-reliant. The State government has launched the Maha Jobs Portal to provide employment opportunities to local residents. The portal will help in recruitment of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled employees.

However, the industry players who are eager to start operations are apprehensive about the State government’s drive. Maharashtra accounts for nearly 35.1 per cent of the country’s output of automobiles by value and MSMEs account for more than 80 per cent of the total employment, according to the State government’s industrial policy.

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Published on July 08, 2020
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