Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 6
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, employment in the state’s industrial sector is going to take a hit. At present, only 1.5 per cent of industrial units are operational.
The plunge in the industrial production resulted in massive job losses, which further triggered mass exodus of migrant labourers. The state authorities are struggling to send over 10 lakh migrants to their native places.
Gurmit Kular, president, Federation of Industrial and Commercial Organisations, said more than 8 lakh workers were likely to lose their job due to lockdown in Ludhiana alone.
“On one side, the state government has relaxed norms for opening of factories and, on the other, the labourers are being sent back home. It’s a Catch-22 situation,” he said.
Industry experts feel that till the government does not ensure full industrial production, job generation would remain low and industrial workers would keep on leaving the state.
DS Chawla, president, United Cycle and Parts Manufactures Association, claimed that around 60 per cent of labourers were going back to their native places. “We are operating at less than 50 per cent of our capacity because of social distancing norms. Considering the situation, forget about new queries, I don’t think I would be able to meet my existing orders,” said Amit Goswami, a Jalandhar-based hand tool exporter.
Lakhwinder of Karkhana Mazdoor Union said, “Thousands of workers are going home as they are feeling insecure here. They don’t have money to survive here and are worried about their families. Many factory owners are not releasing their salaries. They don’t have faith in claims made by the government.”
Rajwinder, president, Textile Hosiery Kamgaar Union, said, “Many workers who are going back are unhappy with the arrangements made by the Punjab Government. Many of the workers have not got the salary for April. Many have complained that they received salary for only 21 days of March. The factory owners are not releasing the full salaries, fearing that the workers will go back to their home states. There is no help from the Labour Department.”
Amit Goswami, director, Euorforge, said, “The industries across all categories are facing challenging times. The workers are going back via trains started on the initiative of the Punjab Government. This way, no industry will be able to run and the very purpose of restarting the industries will be defeated.”
3 trains chug off from Jalandhar
- Three Shramik trains ferrying 1,200 migrant workers left from Jalandhar to Lucknow, Gorakhpur and Ayodhya on Wednesday
- The state government paid the fare worth Rs30.94 lakh
- The migrants were transferred from transit points via buses to the railway station
- A team of the Health Department was deployed to screen every passenger boarding the train
- Naib tehsildar Mandeep Singh, who supervised the registration and screening of migrants, said he was allowed to send only 600 passengers to the railway station