Lockdown relaxation: Maharashtra permits industries in Pimpri-Chinchwad to reopen

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May 16, 2020 2:20 AM

There are over 4,000 automotive, auto component and engineering companies along with their ancillaries in this area including Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto (Akurdi), Force Motors, Thermax, Forbes Mashall and Atlas Copco, among others.

 In a big relief to the automotive industry, the Maharashtra state government has permitted industries in the Pimpri-Chinchwad and Bhosari industrial areas to reopen and start operations despite being in a red zone.
In a big relief to the automotive industry, the Maharashtra state government has permitted industries in the Pimpri-Chinchwad and Bhosari industrial areas to reopen and start operations despite being in a red zone.

In a big relief to the automotive industry, the Maharashtra state government has permitted industries in the Pimpri-Chinchwad and Bhosari industrial areas to reopen and start operations despite being in a red zone. There are over 4,000 automotive, auto component and engineering companies along with their ancillaries in this area including Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto (Akurdi), Force Motors, Thermax, Forbes Mashall and Atlas Copco, among others.

According to a Crisil report on the impact of the lockdown for component makers and OEMs, Pune was among the nerve centre for OEMs and extending the lockdown here any further would hurt almost all the vehicle segments. This is a major centre for two-wheelers and passenger vehicles (PVs) to source cast parts such as cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, crank cases, piston rings and engine valves. Electrical and electronic parts for PVs are mainly sourced from Pune and it is a major sourcing cluster for companies in Delh-NCR, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, apart from other units in Maharashtra, the Crisil report had said.

As the number of Covid-19 positive cases in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area was not high and companies there wanted to resume operations, the state government has allowed them to start, Shravan Hardikar, municipal commissioner of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) said. They were taking a micro-zoning approach in the PCMC area but industry would have to follow the strict protocols laid down for resuming operations, Hardikar said. As Pune city had a lot of cases and lot of containment zones, people residing there will not be permitted to travel and work in PCMC, Hardikar added. Units will be allowed to operate from 7 am to 7 pm.

Sadashiv Survase, joint director, industries department, Maharashtra state government, said through a simple self-certified permission process on the MIDC portal companies could start operations and seek vehicle passes to move people and material. Survase said companies could utilise only 33% of their work force and only those residing in the PCMC areas be allowed to work.

Those living beyond the PCMC limits would not be allowed entry into PCMC areas, Survase said. Companies would also have to ferry their employees in a dedicated transport from home directly to the workplace and no two-wheelers would be permitted. Inter-district movement of labour too is not allowed, he said.

While industry welcomed the opening of the industry in PCMC, they found the conditions tough to comply. Pradeep Bhargava, president of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture, pointed out that people from across Pune were travelling to Chakan, Talegaon and Ranjangaon industrial estate freely and there was no reason why they should not be allowed to work in the PCMC areas.

Also, the owners of these companies and all the top management mostly stayed outside PCMC while their factories were located in the PCMC region, so this was going to be difficult to manage, Bhargava pointed. Government officials suggested that they could temporarily move to the PCMC region and manage till the situation improved and restrictions could be eased.

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