Indore: Industries in Madhya Pradesh are staring at a combined loss of Rs 14,000 to 15,000 crores due to the lockdown and there are fears that if they remain closed for some more time and are denied any relief, around half of them would never be able to reopen, according to industry associations and government officials.
A senior official of the industries department who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there are around 600-700 big industries and over 1.5 to 1.6 lakh small and medium scale units operating in the state and save the pharma sector, all of them have been forced to down their shutters.
"It is a tough situation for industries, especially the small ones and their survival is at stake," the officer said. Pithampur Audhyogik Sangathan president Gautam Kothari argues that a relief package is a must.
"There are 850 big and small industries in Pithampur, the biggest industrial area of MP, employs around one lakh workers. Except the pharmaceutical industries, most are closed. Industrialists are expected to pay rent, wages of permanent employees, power charges and bank loan interest.
The industries will be hard pressed," Kothari said. The association has been meeting senior government officials and also the labour department suggesting ways the government can give relief, Kothari added.
Association of Industries Madhya Pradesh president Pramod Dafaria has suggested that the government should pay 50 per cent of the workers' wages. "It is only fair, since it is the government that has imposed the lockdown. Also, most industries are not in a position to pay," he said.
Taking the argument further is Association of All Industries, Mandideep, vicepresident Aashish Bafna, "The government gets its share of tax when we make profits.” “It should share our losses also. Moreover, the workers too should also willing take pay cuts in these times of crisis, otherwise most of the industries will close down. Also, only the actual power bill should be taken for this period and no other surcharge or levy should be imposed."
Principal secretary, Industry Policy, Investment Promotion, Dr Rajesh Rajora said the state government is following the guidelines of the central government but assured that they are considering ways to help the industries. "We are planning a package for the industries with all the stake holders. The government does understand the problems being faced by the industries," he said.