The Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) in Coimbatore region have sought the State government’s support to make issuance of ePass easy and hassle-free for smooth functioning of the units.

The Joint Council of Associations of Coimbatore – an umbrella of 10 industry associations, today said that they have been suggesting to the Government and District Administration for issuance of a permanent pass for each unit.

“We understand that by restricting the movement of people, the government is trying to track and curb the spread of the deadly disease. But considering that the department is flooded with such ePass requests on a daily basis – both from the public and business undertakings and the delay in getting the ePass, we feel that the authorities should consider issuance of a permanent pass for each industrial unit. The units will maintain a register of the movement of their respective employees between districts and submit the same to the authorities, when asked for,” Codissia President R Ramamurthy said.

The associations have also urged the government to do arrangements for return of migrant labourers from their home towns, for identification of a common location for quarantine purpose on their arrival and such other support like operating buses for limited hours in the morning and evening to facilitate workers to report for work, resumption of train services for transport of supplies and goods and so on.

Industry representatives further noted that the differing rules and policies across the various states in the country also stood in the way of their delivery commitments.

The other issues that were highlighted include waiver of MOD registration charges (for availing bank loan), provision of grant for micro and SSI units and interest subvention to six per cent for all MSMEs for at least one year.

Though a majority of the units are operating at just 50 per cent of their installed capacity, unit owners, particularly in the foundry space said the disruption in movement of castings was impacting their business adversely. “Close to 80 per cent of the workforce are migrant labourers as compared to 30 per cent in general engineering industry. Paucity of labour, cancellation of orders and vague (uncertain) delivery schedule is killing us. We have export orders on hand, but because of the constraints in movement, we hear that the customers are looking to source castings from China, Mexico and Brazil. At this rate we will lose out to these countries,” said Balraj, Joint Managing Director, Bright Castings Group.