The second wave of COVID-19 has affected industrial activity in Mysuru with reports of minor hiccups affecting production. The spectre of prolonged lockdown and its cascading impact on the industries is worrying the stakeholders even though the industrial activity is not expected to screech to a halt like last year.
Providing direct and indirect employment to nearly 2.5 lakh people in the city and surrounding areas including Nanjangud, there are about 100 major and medium enterprises apart from around 20,000 small scale units in the district, most of it engaged in manufacturing. The industrial sector suffered a massive slow down during the lockdown which came into effect on March 25, 2020.
A little more than an year later the sector is beginning to see a similar trend with the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Supply and transportation of raw material from Maharasthra has been affected and we are beginning to feel the pinch,” said Suresh Kumar Jain, Secretary, Mysuru Industries’ Association. He pointed out that the transportation of raw materials was only being delayed and not stopped unlike last year. But in case the situation worsens and a lockdown is resorted to in the weeks ahead, then the industrial activity will go into a tailspin once again, he cautioned.
A.S. Satish, president, Mysuru Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI), said there is no national lockdown as last year but local lockdowns in Maharashtra and Mumbai and weekend lockdowns in the State will have a negative bearing.
The total lockdown last year ensured that the migrant workers returned to their respective States leaving local units in the lurch. Subsequently, there was a graded unlocking and many did return but the supply chain had been badly hit which impacted the manufacturing sector.
It took more than six months after the graded unlocking for the industries to attain 50% of their installed capacity. Much of it was due to issues that dovetailed with the overall pandemic situation in the country and across the globe. Now, a similar trend is being observed as a bulk of the components for auto industry manufactured in the ancillary units in Mysuru finds its way to Maharasthra which is shut.
Also, the COVID-19 cases in Mysuru breaking out daily is the second highest in the State after Bengaluru while the active cases was pegged at 4,992 on Saturday evening. Tthis is another worrying trend.
Closure of factories
Meanwhile, the State government has issued a notification for closure of factories sparing units that are considered essential. These include food and packaging units, pharmaceuticals, etc., though engineering and manufacturing units will remain shut during the weekend lockdown starting April 24.
Mr. Satish said bulk of the industries in Mysuru are general engineering and manufacturing units and are not categorized under the ‘essential’ list under the present circumstances. Hence, MCCI, MIA and others perceive the weekend lockdown will have a negative bearing or hamper the revival of the manufacturing units in Mysuru.
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