Continuous Process Industries Must Go on to Keep the Economy Alive During Coronavirus Crisis

Guidelines issued by The Union Ministry of Home Affairs allowed industries which require continuous process, Mineral Production, Movement of Goods and Cargo for inland and exports to operate during lockdown.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs vide its respective orders dated 24th March 2020 and 25th March 2020 issued guidelines allowing Industrial Establishments which require continuous process, Mineral Production, Movement of Goods and Cargo for inland and exports amongst others to operate during lockdown after obtaining the required permission from the respective State Governments. Respective Union Ministries have also issued various directives to the State governments to the same affect, reiterated in the State Empowered committee meeting and the order issued by Member Secretary State Disaster Management Authority.

Subsequently, Ministry of Home Affairs clarified vide its order dated 29.03.2020 clarified that transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential be allowed.

However, businesses in certain states falling under the continuous process industry are facing hurdles in running of operations, despite securing State Government permissions. While all authorities are fully supporting continuation of minimal level of business activity in national interest, there is always an odd citizen out there who enjoys going against the stream to create mischief to see industrial activity to get muted. Such moves can have a misleading effect on the workers and the community in the vicinity of such plants.

A case in point is Goa. Already the economy of Goa is in shambles because its two most important sources of state revenue are shut. First is mining which has been closed on the orders of Supreme Court and the matter is pending review by the court. Second is tourism which has got wiped out completely after the coronavirus outbreak. A continuous process plant run by Vedanta in Amona-Navelim district and which manufactures pig iron received permission from the Office of District Magistrate – North Goa and resumed limited operations including unloading/ loading of coal/ pig iron. The authorities were satisfied that all necessary precautions as mandated by various advisories have been being implemented for a safe working environment at the plant.

The Deputy Sarpanch of Amona Panchayat Ms. Sanghvi Phadte visited the Vedanta plant on Tuesday, 7 April 2020 to verify the situation and found that all measures to ensure safety of the employees and surroundings were being undertaken. She was satisfied with all necessary arrangements that were made by the company, and the same was informed by her to the authorities.  

According to a company official, “Vedanta’s Value Added Business is fully compliant with the required safety measures and shall continue to abide by all further advisories as mandated by various advisories of the Health authorities and law.  Vedanta remains fully committed to ensure the safety of its people, environment and the communities around.”

At times when the nation needs to work in unison, it is important that directives of the Central Government and the State Governments are followed diligently without using it as an opportunity to earn political currency by misleading people who are already paying a huge cost amidst these challenging times.

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