Industry gearing up for normal activity

Industries in and around Visakhapatnam are getting ready for normal activity in a few months with indications that the Centre will further relax lockdown norms.

At present, they are facing problem with regard to availability of public transport for the workers. Some industries are also encountering issues over inter-State transportation of raw material and finished products though there are no curbs on movement of cargo vehicles.

Now, most of the industries are carrying out their operations by scaling down production due to Centre’s fiat to deploy only one-third of manpower. Still, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, Gangavaram Port, HPCL Visakh Refinery, Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City, NTPC Simhadri Thermal Power Station, and Hindustan Shipyard Limited are operating to the optimum level.

Only due to fall in demand, Simhadri has shut down two of its four 500 MW units. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited has also shut down two of its blast furnaces due to lack of demand for steel during COVID-19 pandemic.

“Almost half of the revival process is completed. Once the logistic and working capital problems are addressed, mostly for the MSMEs as promised by the government, normalcy will be restored in a few months,” Confederation of Indian Industry State vice-chairman D.T. Raju toldHe said after giving financial aid it should be recovered in easy instalments so that it would not burden the MSME entrepreneurs.

As per stimulus package announced by the Centre, the MSMEs should be given working capital loans from the equity fund created by the government at the earliest instead of insisting on multiple conditions, said Visakha Autonagar Small-Scale Industrialists’ Welfare Association president A.K. Balaji. He said the timely release of pending incentives to the tune of over ₹900 crore to the MSME sector by the State government would also help in overcoming the present crisis to some extent.

Projections

As per the projections, the industries are expected to do well from the second quarter of present fiscal. Many of the industries are working with strict adherence to social distancing and other norms and educating their workforce on how to live with coronavirus threat till a vaccine is developed.

“We have to live with it as we cannot afford to paralyse our production for a long time. This fact has to be accepted by everyone,” Sravan Shipping Services managing director G. Sambasiva Rao said.