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Migrant workers returning to work in Pune’s auto hub

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on August 18, 2020

Chakan Industries Association estimates say about 50% migrant workers are back in town and have resumed work

Migrant workers who had left for their hometowns following the outbreak of Covid-19, are returning to Pune’s auto hub. The automobile manufacturing units and component suppliers in Pimpri-Chinchwad, Chakan and Talegaon areas are largely dependent on migrant labourers to resume full-fledged operations.

According to Motilal Sankla, President of the Chakan Industries Association (CIA), many industrial units in Chakan are arranging transportation for workers who wish to return to work. Many workers in Chakan industrial estate hail from Bihar, Assam and Rajasthan.

Over 750 industrial units in Chakan employ about 2.5 lakh workers. According to CIA estimates, about 50 per cent migrant workers are back in town and have resumed work. The industrial units are taking all precautions, providing necessary health infrastructure for workers. Industrialists and workers have to learn to live with Covid-19 and start operations, said Sankla.

Pune, one of India’s largest auto hubs, houses about 1.3 lakh registered MSMEs and 650-700 large-scale units. Together, these units employ about 17 lakh people, the majority of whom are migrant workers. The Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) says that on average, 24 per cent of the labour force working in surveyed companies hail from outside Maharashtra. Chakan industrialists have demanded that the State government arrange transportation for migrants who wish to return to work in Maharashtra.

“The flow of migrant workers is towards Chakan. Migrants are returning even in Pimpri Chinchwad but not in big numbers. The number of Covid-19 cases in Pimpri Chinchwad is rising and this fear is holding back migrants,” said Sandeep Belsare, President of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Small and Medium Scale Industries Association.

He added that industries in Pimpri Chinchwad are expected to start full-fledged operations only after November. “As of now, not all units have work orders, and hence, they can continue with the available workforce. Some units which have work orders are completing the work with the help of available labour working overtime,” said Belsare.

Published on August 18, 2020

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