TN govt’s curbs on inter-district movement choking trade, says industry

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on May 19, 2020

The Central government’s nod to inter-State movement of vehicles (buses and cars), albeit with mutual consent of both States, does not seem to have provided any respite to the trade.

“Unless the Tamil Nadu government permits inter-district movement of vehicles, this is not going to help. The trade is choking,” said Rethinavelu, Senior President, Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Madurai.

He told BusinessLine that the permission to open the trade would be meaningless if travel outside the district to explore marketing opportunity is curtailed. “Every district operates in isolation. How can we run the business when the situation is not congenial?” he asked, voicing anxiety over this curb in inter-district movement.

According to him, workers from districts in and around Madurai such as Dindigul and Theni travel to the Temple City to eke out a living. “They are unable to commute as they have to cross the district border to attend to work. The public are aware of the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure),” he added.

A cross-section of industrialists in Coimbatore, too, echoed the TN Chamber’s concern on this issue.

Commuting for work

Incidentally, a good number of people travel either from Palghat (in the neighbouring Kerala) to this industrial hub to attend office or to the dollar city of Tirupur from Coimbatore to work.

Though industries have since commenced operations, such inter-district commuters have been unable to make it to their workplace for want of public transport. “Not all can afford a vehicle. While they are willing to report for work, they are unable to make it,” the source said.

“Staying close to the workplace may not be possible for most people. Rentals could be high in commercial localities, one could have invested in a property within his or her limits, could have chosen to rent a property closer to children’s school .. the reasons could be many. But during times such as the present, I think it would be best to stay closer to the workplace. I hope the lockdowns are not here to stay,” said Shiela, a commuter from Kerala.

The small-scale units here say they have been approaching the District Industries Centre with a list of employees for who they seek a pass. “They are issuing passes,” said Codissia President Ramamurthi.

Published on May 19, 2020

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