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Industrialists of the state are unhappy with the decision of the government to close down all industries due to the fear of spreading of coronavirus infection, and believe that if the factories are not opened soon, around 50 per cent of all small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) will be forced to close down permanently, and are, therefore, pressing for a quick decision by the government in favour of the industrialists.

The closure will not only render thousands of workers unemployed and it will also adversely affect the government’s revenue.

On their part, the industrialists of Pithampur and other areas have written to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and also the state industries principal secretary Dr Rajesh Rajora demanding to reopen of factories, but so far the government has not taken any concrete decision.

Pithampur Audhyogik Sangathan president, Gautam Kothari, said, “I fear that 50 per cent of all MSMEs will close down if they are not reopened soon. The situation is very grim.”

Kothari said though all the factories are closed, the owners still have to pay all the fixed maintenance costs. Also, in April the power company handed power bills of the usual amount even though all factories are lying closed for the past 40 days. Not only this, but the government is also putting pressure on the industrialists to pay salaries to the employees for the lockdown period.

Kothari said the industrialists of the area had a video conference with Indore MP Shankar Lalwani and told them of his problems, but their efforts did not yield any result.

Subhash Sawarai, who has an industrial unit in Sanver Road said he runs a 100 per cent export-oriented unit and there is a demand for his products overseas, which he is unable to meet as his unit is closed. Sawaria said for the past fortnight, he has been writing to the industries department officials seeking permission to reopen his unit, but no one has replied to his entreaties.

Madhya Pradesh Association of Industries state president Pramod Dafaria said if the factories are opened soon, they will be able to recover from the losses they have suffered and the economy of the city and that of the state will recover. Also, people will retain their employment.

Keshav Pateria who runs a factory in Pithampur industrial area said the closure of industries has struck a major blow on the working class and many of them are on the brink of starvation and many have migrated to their home towns with their families. Pateria said that it will be very difficult to find workers in the coming months as once they go to their hometown it will take two to three months for them to come back.

AKVN MD Kumar Purshottam said that the decision to reopen factories will be taken by the state government and the local administration. “There is not much that I can do,” he said.

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