Karnataka Govt to take stock of JSW Steel operations as Covid cases rise

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 22, 2020

The district administration and State Forest Minister Anand Singh will soon take a decision amid growing demand for suspension of production at the JSW Steel plant at Ballari due to a spike in Covid cases.

Singh will hold separate video conferences with district health officials and JSW Steel administration to decide on the next step to control the infection in Ballari district.

JSW Steel has quarantined over 1,086 employees, of which 246 tested positive for Covid while the test reports of another 300 are awaited. The company has sent 898 employees with various illness on paid leave.

Meanwhile, the Ballari District Chamber Commerce and Industry said the State and Central governments had handled the health issues relating to the pandemic efficiently and now it is time to reduce its impact on industries and employment.

Correction, not shutdown

V Ravikumar, President, Ballari District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said if there are errors on part of JSW Steel it should be corrected rather than demanding for a complete shutdown. Any stoppage of the furnace will take at least six months to restart and lead to heavy loss particularly when steel demand itself is so low, he added.

Over 2 lakh people are dependent on JSW Steel for livelihood and the company is in trouble since it resumed operations after the lockdown norms were eased, he added.

Ballari accounts for about 15-20 per cent of India’s overall steel production and contributes over ₹7,000 crore annually to the State exchequer.

JSW Steel has extended the work from home option to over 50 per cent of its workforce. It has set up a fever centre within the steel plant premises to check and detect early symptoms of ILI (influenza like illness) or SARI (severe acute respiratory infection), besides converting its two hospitals for Covid treatment.

The company has converted its Jindal Sanjeevani Multi-Specialty Hospital into full-fledged Covid care hospital and offered to convert its OP Jindal Vocational Training Centre into a Covid centre. Currently, the training centre is an isolation centre for suspected Covid cases.

Published on June 22, 2020

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