Members of the Udyog Vihar Chamber of Industries on Monday expressed concerns over a 10-15% escalation in operational costs brought on by the purchase of disinfectants, sanitisers, thermal screening devices, disinfectant tunnels and the other Covid-related expenses over the last month.
The Haryana government’s standard operating procedure (SOP), issued on April 19, mandated these requirements for resuming operations of factories. The factory owners submitted affidavits, stating they would follow the guidelines, failing which they are liable to penalties, ranging up to the sealing of non-compliant units.
Ashok Kohli, the president of the Udyog Vihar Chamber of Industries, said, “This is an additional expense that we are facing. The maintenance cost has escalated 10 to 15 per cent for every factory owner, as per a review of the maintenance expenses for the past one month. Even if lockdown ends by the end of the month, this additional expense will still be a liability and we will have to plan to adjust this expense in a suitable way.”
In a meeting on Monday, factory owners said they are already facing losses due to the prolonged shutdown of factories and disruption of the supply chain.
Manmohan Gaind, the president of Manesar Industry Welfare Association, said, “We are buying disinfectant chemicals in bulk. We bought hundreds of thermal scanning devices to check temperatures and many cartons of sanitisers. The total expense on all this, as per my calculation, amounted to roughly 20% of my monthly maintenance cost of factory premises. We have to comply with the guidelines, otherwise, my factory will be sealed. As this cost is mandatory, we are expending it from our profit margin. But currently, we are not making any profit at all after we resumed operations.”
“We cannot increase the costs of products because we will lose our clients. We need to maintain patience and wait for the situation to stabilise once the Covid-19 fear is over and the pandemic is under control. Even after the government has allowed factories to restart, there are still many restrictions on the workers’ movement. We wish the government will do away with these restrictions,” said Praveen Yadav, the president of Gurgaon Udyog Association.
The nationwide lockdown since March 25 forced factories to shut for a month and has currently led to a shortage of workers due to the exodus of migrant workers to their home states.
“This is a critical phase for us. We cannot think of adjusting additional expenses by increasing product costs currently. We will take a call on it next month,” said Pawan Yadav, president of IMT Industrial Association, Manesar.