Factory-owners to provide accommodation to 4L workers
Following nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, India’s largest ceramic cluster located in Gujarat will shut down completely by Thursday evening.
As much as 50% of about 1,000 ceramic units have been shut down, Morbi Ceramic Association president Nilesh Jetparia said, adding that ceramic units can’t close down without completing the entire process of making ceramic products.
Remaining units would stop operations by Thursday, he said. “Most of the transporters have also closed down their services and hence there is no point to continue production at Morbi cluster in such situation.”
Four-lakh workforce are employed at the ceramic cluster in and around Morbi town of Saurashtra region, 60 km away from Rajkot. Over 60% labourers of these are migrants from Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and hence factory-owners have decided to allow them to stay at workers’ colony, said Jetparia.
“We have decide to give them ration and other facilities, and also issued advisory to stay at their respective quarters to remain safe from contagious coronavirus,” Jetparia said, adding factory-owners have permitted those who want to go back to their native place but due to the lockdown in transportation, including railway, bus services, they also have the option to stay at factory sites.
Dinesh Sadasania, owner of one of the ceramic-exporting units at Morbi, said he had made arrangement for workers’ accommodation as well as ration. “On Wednesday, we have paid them wages for March and they would also be paid for the next month so they are able to suffice their families’ expenditure without difficulties,” said Sadsania.
Against the annual turnover of Rs 45,000 crore, exports from Morbi cluster come nearly at Rs 12,000 crore. By the end of 2019, the cluster witnessed more than 55,000 cubic metre production of tiles per day. Though ceramic products are exported to over 170 countries, over 40% of the total is exported to Gulf countries only. With the entire world in the grip of Covid-19, Morbi cluster, too, has decided to remain shut till further guidelines come from the government of India.