COVID crisis: Industrial production drops, 60% workers flee Kashmir
Srinagar: Fledging industrial sector of Kashmir has started feeling the tremors of the second COVID wave.
Production has dropped considerably as most of the unitholders are facing a manpower crunch. Industrialists fear that their units may come to a grinding halt given the pandemic.
“The current circumstances have started impacting the industrial sector of Kashmir. We have a very limited time of maintaining production in Kashmir (April-October). It seems that this period too will be affected by COVID-19. Our industries are working on crutches and government should immediately vaccinate the people associated with the industries,” said Shahid Kamli, President Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK).
President FCIK said the government hasn’t fully compensated the industries in Kashmir for two back-to-back lockdowns. “The government compensated for the COVID lockdown but not for the 2019 shutdown,” he said.
Unit holders claim that majority of the industries were functioning with less than 40 percent of the manpower.
President Kashmir Small Scale Industries Association Bagh Ali Mardan Fazal Illahi told The Kashmir Monitor that the consumption of the goods has reduced again in the market due to the second wave.
“Our 60 percent laborers have returned to their homes. Whatever goods the industries produce don’t get consumed in the market. There should have been a handholding by the government,” he said.
Kashmir Industries Development Forum (KIDF) president Muzamil Bacha said the debt servicing and payment of other charges has become challenging for industrialists.
“We are supposed to pay rent, electricity charges, bank interest, which is becoming very difficult for us when the production and consumption are very low. We had a beginning to start our businesses but the second wave of COVID-19 is again playing a spoilsport,” he said.