Micro and small-scale enterprises here have appealed to the Central and State governments not to re-introduce restrictions even as COVID-19 cases rise in the country.
Coimbatore District Small Industries Association president M.V. Ramesh Babu said the raw material prices have seen a slight drop and workers are available for the current level of orders. In the last few months, the industries have seen 30% to 40% fall in orders. So far, there is no rise in COVID cases in industries here.
Usually, restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19 start for public gatherings and are imposed on industries only if there is no other option. Now too, the governments should not bring restrictions for industries. If there are restrictions on operations, the industries will face a host of challenges and more units may be closed.
P. Nallathambi, president of Coimbatore SIDCO Industrial Estate Manufacturers Welfare Association, said 60% of the workers who went home during the second lockdown have returned. And, all of them employed at the SIDCO Industrial Estate at Kurichi are vaccinated. The Corporation officials are visiting the units to check if the workers maintain physical distancing and follow the other safety protocols. “With these measures, we don’t think there will be any restriction on industries,” he said.
According to C. Sivakumar, president of Coimbatore and Tiruppur District Micro and Cottage Entrepreneurs Association, most of the workers have returned and there is shortage only in availability of operators. Though there is a threat of increase in raw material prices again, the units are operating now and they should be permitted to continue working. ‘We need to repay bank loans, pay rents and wages. There is no government support. So, the units should continue to operate to meet at least these expenses,” he said.
Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Tiny Enterprises president J. James said the micro units cannot withstand another lockdown. The industry is hoping for a revival of orders soon and hence, want to continue working without any restrictions. There was hardly any financial support to this segment during the earlier lockdowns. If there is a need for another lockdown, the government should support all the units, he said.