Chennai/Bhopal: With Covid-19 cases surging ahead, the business community of Chennai and the industries across Tamil Nadu are worried over the possibility of migrant workers going back to their home states.
Chennai reported more than 2,000 cases in a single day on Sunday.
Tamil Nadu is home to more than 2 million migrant workers mostly from states like Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Business community of Chennai is worried over the possibility of a large number of migrant workers leaving the city as most of these business establishments including hotels, lodgings, small shops have employed migrant labourers in large numbers.
M. Arunachalam, a businessman dealing with Tiles and Marbles at a showroom in Teynampet, Chennai while speaking to IANS said, "There is a possibility of migrant labourers going back to their home states. Already a good number has gone to West Bengal for elections and many are not back even after the polls, if there is a Covid surge, many will leave."
He, however, adds that the Chennai business community has already met twice to assess the situation and to find a solution.
K.R. Pandiarajan, General Secretary, Chennai Merchants Association, while speaking to IANS, said, "We are taking safety measures and are trying to provide them all facilities including medical check ups. We have assured them that we will take care of them even if someone is affected by the disease. We expect to stop them from going back as our businesses will be affected and there may not be any other alternative other than shutting down most of these small and medium businesses."
In Tiruppur, the textile hub of Tamil Nadu, the industrial groups in the garment sector are also worried over the possibility of the migrant workers returning home.
Raja Murugan, President, Tiruppur Garment Manufacturing Association, while speaking to IANS, said, "We are monitoring the situation and have already communicated to our workers not to worry as we are taking care of all their needs. However, once there is a huge surge, they may not listen and go back to their home towns as everyone loves to be with their near and dear ones during a crisis. We are trying our best to stop this exodus."
Tiruppur has a turnover of Rs 45,000-55,000 crore annually and the exodus of migrant workers from the units will crush the businesses.
In Coimbatore industrial estate where small, medium and large industries are in place, things are again worrisome with most of the migrant workers thinking of going back to their home states.
K.U. Abdul Nasser Haji, President, Small Industries Association, Coimbatore, while speaking to IANS, said, "We have already spoken to the migrant labourers and asked them not to be carried away as we have already provided them proper accommodation, health facilities and all other paraphernalia. If there is a large exodus, it will certainly affect us and we are keeping our fingers crossed."