Covid-19 threat forces JSW Steel to reduce workforce at Karnataka plant

Topics JSW steel | COVID-19

According to reports, about 509 Covid-19 cases have been reported from the district, with 296 from the JSW Steel plant.
After 70 per cent of the coronavirus (Covid-19) positive cases in Bellary district of Karnataka were reported from Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel plant, the steel producer has tightened measures to combat the spread by restricting entry of migrant labour at its plant.

“We are not allowing nearly 11,000 migrant labour coming from nearby villages to work at the plant. Instead, we will continue operations with the balance 17,000-18,000 workers present at our four colonies and plant site,” Vinod Nowal, deputy managing director (deputy MD) at JSW Steel said.

The company is following the standard operating procedures outlined by the district administration, he said. Earlier this week, locals had alleged that the JSW Steel factory was a 

Covid-19 hotspot after many employees tested positive for the virus. “In the past one month, of the 256 positive cases at the plant, 91 workers have been discharged. The rest are not showing symptoms any more.”

JSW Steel has a 12 million tonne capacity steel plant at Toranagallu in the Ballari-Hospete iron ore belt. Currently, the plant is running at 85-90 per cent capacity utilisation.

“Workers deployed at the facility are not being allowed to move out of the demarked area and the staff is provided with whatever is needed at the facility itself,” said Nowal.

According to reports, about 509 Covid cases have been reported from the district with 296 being from JSW’s plant. “Migrant labour has been asked to stay home and are on paid leave since June 12. As Covid-19 cases come down, we will take a decision if these workers can return to work. The number of shifts has been brought down to two from three in a few departments. For those at the facility, the company is designing some reward for the employees depending on their performance. But that is in works, so I cannot give any details,” said Nowal.

JSW Steel is not the only manufacturing facility, which was affected by the spread of Covid. 

At Steel Authority of India, 40 senior and mid-level officials, including the chairman working out of the Delhi-based corporate headquarters, are reported to have tested positive for Covid-19. The company, in its recent release, had stated that its director (personnel) Atul Srivastava had passed away at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital due to “cardiac arrest”.

ONGC   had, last week, temporarily ceased operations at two drilling rigs in the Western coast, owing to the death of an employee and another 54 testing positive. The two rigs were placed in two of the most lucrative assets of the company — Mumbai High and Bassein.

A company official said work was stopped temporarily only at two rigs but the remaining 34 rigs in the offshore are operational. He added that there was no impact on the company’s production.

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