As COVID – 19 scare has seriously affected the export of seafood and textile products and the import of timber and machineries, those who are in the business have appealed to the State and the Central Governments to give them ‘tax holiday’ for this period.
Since the Ministry of Shipping has banned the arrival of foreign ships in the harbours across the country, export of salt, seafood, textile products etc. has been badly hit while the import of timber and machineries has come to a grinding halt, leaving those in the business in the lurch.
According to the sources in the VOC Port here, volume of cargo traffic via the seaport had come down to 60%.
“Now, the COVID – 19 threat has further hit the business with only 100 to 150 timber containers are arriving here from foreign countries over the past three months. Consequently, allied industries like construction, furniture making, packaging businesses have been seriously affected. Besides reducing the GST, the union government should announce tax holiday for us,” Mr. Paramasivan said.
Like the timber business, the import of machineries from the foreign countries has almost been stopped, which has affected the small and marginal entrepreneurs having their fabrication units in the port town.
Similarly, export of seafood, salt, tea and garment via VOC Port has also been seriously affected with the containers stuffed with these products are either lying in the harbour or in the seaports of various countries due to the viral infection scare.
“The 9,000-odd small and marginal fabrication units, giving employment to over 5 lakh people, have been affected badly as we cannot import the machineries required for our units. So these entrepreneurs, who have already been seriously affected by the GST, are on the brink of being eliminated from the business. So the Central and the State Governments should give us tax holiday for this turbulent period,” said K. Nehru Prakash, president of Small Scale Industries’ Association.
Meanwhile, the flower traders are facing serious loss as there is no sale of flowers after COVID-19 scare became worse. “Though we’re getting 5 tonnes of flowers everyday as usual, none came to the market to purchase flowers, forcing us to dump the fresh flowers in the garbage yard,” said P. Selvaraj, a flower trader.
Meanwhile, District Collector Sandeep Nanduri and Corporation Commissioner V.P. Jayaseelan held discussion with the representatives from famous temples, churches and the mosques in the district on curtailing the crowd usually gathering in these places of worship for special prayers. When the Collector appealed to them to avoid special prayers, it was accepted by them.