Production at Bajaj Auto, other units may get halted as Aurangabad plans new lockdown from 8th July

Aurangabad administration has decided to go in for a strict lockdown with the rise in cases, shortage of hospital beds and the danger of running out of capacity in the coming two to three days. At the same time, Aurangabad-based companies have made a representation to the Maharashtra government urging it to not shut down industries. 

By:Updated: Jul 07, 2020 10:15 AM

And, as Bajaj has pertinently pointed out, no company can afford to pay worker’s wages if they sit at home.

The fate of 2,100 units, including that of Bajaj Auto, 20 beer plants, dozens of auto component and engineering goods companies, hangs in balance as the Aurangabad district and municipal administration has decided to impose a lockdown from July 8 to July 18 amid a rising number of Covid-19 cases. A notification from the Maharashtra government is expected on Tuesday, indicating clearly what would be allowed during this lockdown. The Aurangabad administration has decided to go in for a strict lockdown citing rising cases, shortage of hospital beds and the danger of running out of capacity in the next two-three days. Aurangabad-based companies have made a representation to the Maharashtra government urging it to not shut down industries. Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj has warned of 50% wage cuts by the company if another lockdown is imposed.

At this stage, all industrial establishments have been included in the lockdown, Bajaj Auto ED Rakesh Sharma said. Bajaj’s motorcycle and three-wheeler exports could get impacted as production at its Waluj plant will get disrupted with the second round of lockdown. Bajaj Auto’s vendors Endurance Technologies and Varroc Group also have a big presence in Aurangabad and Bajaj’s supply chain could get disrupted as well. Bajaj Auto has reported 250 Covid-19 positive cases and the number is estimated to go up to 300. The company has a residential colony at Waluj which has been converted into a quarantine centre and houses around 200 asymptomatic patients at present.

While the administration, elected representatives and labour unions, including the Bajaj Auto workers’ union, are all keen on a lockdown, industry representatives feel the lockdown will not serve any purpose. Ram Bhogale, chairman of Bhogale Automotive and member of the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture in Aurangabad, said they were trying their best to convince the government not to include industries in this round of lockdown as they had just about managed to reach 40-50% capacity after restarting operations. Many of the units supply to Indian and global companies and this will yet again disrupt operations and impact their reliability, he said. “The industry has volunteered to augment hospital capacity in Aurangabad in the next few days if the district administration allowed them to do so and we can add 1,000 to 2,000 beds in seven days which can be useful to quarantine patients,” Bhogale said.

As per Maharashtra government data, as on July 6 Aurangabad municipal areas reported 5,205 cases and 268 deaths while there were 1,363 cases and 26 deaths in other parts of Aurangabad. On an average, 100-150 patients are being added every day.

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