Covid-19 woes: Exodus of skilled migrant labourers badly hits MSMEs in Pune

Topics Coronavirus | MSMEs | Pune

As Covid-19 lockdown triggered the mass exodus of migrant labourers, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Pune have suffered badly, the owners of these businesses claimed.

"There are 11,000 MSMEs in Pimpri Chinchwad. Before the lockdown, there were 450,000 workers employed here. Out of these 450,000 workers, 300,000 workers were from outside the state and the city. On the basis of reliable estimates, around 200,000 to 250,000 workers have migrated back to their villages," Sandeep Belsare, Owner of Shree Engineering company and president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Industries Association told ANI.

"Many of the workers had taken payments of March and April and still they had left for their homes. We are planning to talk to the government officials to upskill the youth of the state to reduce our dependence on migrant workers from other states," he added.

Belsare further said that the industries are resolutely following the Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) issued by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

"Beginning with May 13, the government has allowed us to operate our workshops at 33 per cent workforce. Around 7,000 industries have taken permission to operate from MIDC. MIDC has recommended a set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which the industries are following to avoid Covid-19 spread," he said.


Nisaar Sutar, Managing Director of Olive Group Of Companies (MNC) said, "65-75 per cent of our workforce were from outside Maharashtra. 50 per cent of workers have left for their homes, although we were providing them with help. Our business is down by 70 per cent and will remain so for 4-5 months."

Sandip Nilakh, Production head and Operation Incharge of Quadrogen India Private Limited said: "The migrant labourers were mostly skilled and many of them have left from here. Our products generally get exported so we maintain quality standards of a very high level. In view of our requirements, it has become very difficult for us to sustain our operations in the absence of skilled labour."

One of the industrialists said: "I had 25 workers working with my company of which 23 were migrants and all of them have returned due to Covid19, now with two workers remaining, I can't start operations in my unit.

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