Lockdown 3.0: Several manufacturing companies resume operations; many retailers open stores

NEW DELHI: Several manufacturing companies in the auto, textile, brewery, and fertilizer segments resumed operations, and stores opened in many parts of the country on Monday as well, amid relaxation on the first day of the third phase of the national shutdown, including when some retailers complained of chaos due to the different interpretation of orders by local authorities.

In the retail sector, it was a mixed bag with several stores reopening their doors after days of closure, while some had to close early again due to intervention by local authorities.

The CAIT merchant corps claimed that only 20 percent of its member stores in the allowed category could open in different states due to confusion and lack of clarity about the interpretation of neighborhood stores and independent stores locally.

On Monday, many manufacturers informed suppliers of the partial resumption of their production facilities by complying with mandatory safety precautions. The companies also said they were waiting for approvals to start operating in other units.

The development comes after a recent notification from the Union Home Office, which has allowed companies to resume manufacturing operations and reopen stores in red, green and orange areas with certain passengers.

The national blockade to curb the spread of coronavirus infections began on March 25 and lasted until May 17.

Hero MotoCorp, the country's largest two-wheeler, said it has gradually resumed operations at three of its manufacturing plants in Gurugram, Dharuhera (both in Haryana) and Haridwar (Uttarakhand), and is expected to Actual product launch starts from Wednesday.

The company's Global Parts Center (GPC) in Neemrana in Rajasthan also resumed operations.

Commercial vehicle maker SML Isuzu said it received permission from the Punjab government to start its manufacturing plant located in the Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab, even when it emphasized that work from domestic policy will continue according to government instructions from time to time. occasionally.

However, the Indian Retail Association (RAI) said the reopening of the stores was an emotional roller coaster that kicked off at various locations due to the interpretation of orders by local authorities.

It is an emotional roller coaster as expected. Happiness, that some retail stores are opening. Obviously, sales are not expected to be normal. In addition, (there is) start-stop at various locations thanks to interpretation of orders, said RAI CEO Kumar. Rajagopalan told PTI.

Secretary General of the Confederation of All Merchants of India (CAIT) Praveen Khandelwal said that according to an assessment made on the basis of comments received from various state business leaders, only about 20 percent of stores in the Allowed category may open in different states due to confusion and lack of clarity regarding neighborhood stores and independent stores.

The Interior Ministry order was interpreted by merchants, state governments, district administration, and law enforcement authorities in their own way, and that led to great chaos and confusion across the country, which is very unfortunate at this crucial moment in the coronavirus pandemic, he noted.

In states like Punjab and Uttarakhand, more than 50 percent of stores were allowed to open, but in many states the stores were unable to open or were asked by local authorities to close, Khandelwal said.

The National Secretary General of the All India Federation, Vyapar Mandal, V K Bansal, lamented that while liquor stores may open, merchants are being fined if they insist on opening stores.

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The Interior Ministry must clarify whether its order is binding on states or not, he said, claiming that district magistrates and local police have issued their own orders.

Rajasthan-based Chambal breweries and distilleries informed the exchanges of the resumption of operations.

Automotive and industrial lubricant manufacturer Castrol India said it started operations at its Silvassa plant in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Hardware maker Cerebra Integrated Technologies said it has also resumed manufacturing operations at its two facilities in Karnataka and will gradually increase production.

Pune-based process and project engineering company Praj Industries has also resumed operations in certain areas, including Unit II and Unit I of the Kandla EEZ.

Similarly, Amines and Plasticizers Ltd, the largest producer of ethanolamines, alkyl alkanolamines, morpholine derivatives, has partially resumed operations.

Ferrous alloy maker Nava Bharat also began operating at plants located in Paloncha, Telangana and Dhenkanal, Odisha, after receiving approval from the respective state governments.

However, many others have yet to resume operations.

An official with the auto parts maker, ACMA, said many of its members had not yet restarted production.

According to a Maruti Suzuki India official, the company has not yet resumed operations.

The automotive industry bodies, SIAM and ACMA, and the dealer body, FADA, had asked to allow the entire automotive industry value chain to resume operations in unison, indicating that parts availability and sales capacity they were fundamental to the industry.

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