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Thousands return to work as lockdown measures relaxed to churn production

Bhopal: Around 28,000 nonessential workers are estimated to have gone back to their jobs across Madhya Pradesh as the state relaxed Coronavirus lockdown measures. The lockdown has been put in place to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

Madhya Pradesh, like the rest of the country has entered second month of lockdown and has seen partial relaxation in areas specified as green zones with least possibility of virus spread. Allowed are those who cannot work from home, such as those in construction and manufacturing have been allowed to return to work.

An official release from the department of industries stated that the workers are allowed to return on jobs from April 20. A spokesperson of the industries department said 146 industries with investment of over Rs 10 Crore are operating in Madhya Pradesh and are employing around 28,000 workers as lockdown measures have been partially lifted.

Of the total, 115 have become operational by April 20, he said. These include John Deere (Dewas), Ultratech Cement (Neemuch), HEG (Mandideep), Welspun (Raisen), Cadbury (Malanpur), SD Bansal Iron and Steel (Mandideep), Sagar Manufacturing (Raisen), Oswal Denims (Rajgarh), Maral (Khargone) etc, he added.

Industry groups on the other hand have raised concerns over uncertainty about supply chains and the strict conditions imposed on companies — including a requirement for workers to be housed in their industrial compounds and the inability to recall labourers who may have left — had made it tough for many businesses to resume production.

These industries are functional with around 50% labourers as social distancing protocols have been put in place. Madhya Pradesh is of one of the states affected worst by the Coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1550 confirmed cases so far.

Its commercial capital Indore has the largest number of COVID positive patients with over 900 cases with 52 confirmed deaths so far. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan cautioned that state’s return to normal life be “progressive”, stressing that resumption of normal activity will happen in phases and will be accompanied by hygiene measures and efforts to monitor new cases and to prevent further contagion.

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