Industrial production has been hit hard by labour shortage following huge exodus of guest workers from Coimbatore region.
Currently, the mills have resumed only 20 to 40 per cent of production capacity and may get back to a semblance of normalcy in a month or so. “Then, it would be extremely difficult to carry out regular operations without guest workers. We have urged the government to merge different zones across Tamil Nadu leaving out the four COVID-19 hotspot districts for people to move between districts without e-pass facility. This will ensure availability of labourers from other districts,” added Selvaraj.
The MSME’s, which have resumed only minimal operations, too claim that the impact of labour shortage will be felt once the entire sector opens up next month.
“Only up to 15 per cent of production has begun in MSMEs now and hence it’s sufficient to run with the minimal existing workforce. However, the situation may get worse once when orders start to come in a streamlined manner,” said J James, president of Tamil Nadu Association of Cottage and Micro Enterprises (TACT).
In a paradox of sorts, while the industrial sectors in Coimbatore are staring at severe labour shortage, the people in several downward Southern districts are jobless and are desperately looking for one.
“Due to lack of adequate transportation facilities, the workers in Southern districts have been held back in their native places. So, train services should be resumed from Coimbatore to Southern districts like Tirunelveli, Madurai and Thoothukudi for people to come back to work in industries in Coimbatore region,” said K Ramakrishnan, general secretary of Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK).
WEAK IN STRENGTH
- Only up to 15 per cent of production has begun in MSMEs now
- The labour shortage will be felt more once these mills run to their full capacity
- Lack of adequate transportation facilities hinder movement of workers from Southern districts
- Permission sought for people to move between districts other than COVID-19 hotspot, without e-pass facility