“By resuming operations, the knitwear units are hoping that they can send samples to foreign buyers to attract fresh orders in the coming season. Also, the export units may finish projects already in a near completion stage and send them to other countries. As infections are coming down, the government should consider increasing the number of workers to step up output and execute the existing commitments,” said A Sakthivel, chairman of Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC).
However, the CPM is apprehensive of the permission granted to export units and their input units to work with 10 per cent workers as it may lead to spread of COVID infection among workers. It has urged the government to revoke the order.
“Even during intense lockdown, the export textile units operated clandestinely in violation and if allowed with just 10 per cent workforce, they may begin to operate without following any restrictions,” the party claimed in a statement.
“In the first two weeks of lockdown, when the knitwear units were allowed to run under the category of continuous processing industry, the infections surged sharply in the district. From 746 cases on May 10, the number of infections rose to 150 per cent to reach 1,854 cases on May 25 after two weeks of lockdown. Similarly, the total number of COVID-19 cases shot up to 50,554 on May 25, an increase by 38 per cent from 31,931 on May 10. And, cases gradually dipped to 1,104 on 5 June, a decrease by 40 per cent, after the government banned the operation of knitwear units,” said CPM district secretary S Muthukannan.
Hence, the Left party urged the government to not let the guard down at a time when infections are yet to reach a plateau and the Test Positivity Rate continues to be at more than 22 per cent.
“The government should revoke its order to permit functioning of export units and their vendor units with 10 per cent workforce,” he added.
However, District Collector K Vijayakarthikeyan said that special squads will be constituted to monitor that export units function in adherence to norms.