Covid-19: Pune industrial belt goes into lockdown, Tata Motors among them

The Maharashtra government on Saturday ordered industries in the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt near Pune to observe an indefinite lockdown with immediate effect to contain coronavirus which has infected 63 people so far in the state.

This decision was announced at a meeting of industries’ associations and representatives of various companies which was addressed by Maharashtra’s joint director, Industries, Sadashiv Survase. He said the meeting was held on the directive of Pune divisional commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar. Nearly 3.5 lakh workers are engaged in various units in the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt. Among those affected by the lockdown order is auto major Tata Motors.

Pimpri-based Tata Motors in a statement Friday evening had said that it will observe a shut down between March 23 to March 31 in view of the high level precautionary measures in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The statement said: “We have been monitoring the situation closely and all data seem to point out that Maharashtra has been the most impacted. In the interest of safety of our employees in the state, we have decided to rapidly scale down activities at Pune site to get to skeletal operations by end of Monday, 23rd March 2020, and be ready for plant closure by end Tuesday March 24th, 2020 if the situation warrants. We shall remain in this mode till March 31st and review it in due course.”

The company said that as a manufacturing organisation, it was dealing with “a complex situation at hand,” with a large part of its workforce in the plants and at its engineering research centre.

“We shall continue to closely monitor the situation in all the states where our offices and plants are located and make appropriate and proactive decisions should the need arise,” the statement said. The management has asked its employees to participate in the ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 22 from 7 am to 9 pm, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Industries Association president Sandip Belsare who was among those present at this meeting said, “As per the direction of the government we have informed all industrial units to completely lockdown from Saturday. We have told them that the lockdown will be for an indefinite period depending on the Covid-19 situation in Pimpri-Chinchwad and Pune.”

The government warned of strict action if the lockdown is not complied with.

The state government has already announced the shutdown of major cities from Saturday to contain the spread of the virus. All offices, shops and establishments in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune, Pimpri, Chinchwad and Nagpur will be closed till March 31 following an announcement by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

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