Industries in Chennai grapple with staff crunch, sharp rise in prices of raw materials

The 17 industrial estates in Chennai, which resumed work after two months are now grappling with staff shortage and costly raw materials.

Published: 28th May 2020 05:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2020 01:37 PM   |  A+A-

People start to shop at Ritchie Street as it reopens for business. As more people start to come it may be prone to infection spread. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath/EPS)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The 17 industrial estates in Chennai, which resumed work after two months are now grappling with staff shortage and costly raw materials.

“At least 20 per cent of industries inside Ambattur Industrial Estate (IE) could not even begin operations due to shortage of labour. The main reason for this is no public transportation. Most of our workers come from Arakkonam and Tiruvallur, by suburban trains. Though we have been given an option to hire government buses, it costs Rs 250+taxes per passenger for a two-way trip from Arakkonam,” said AN Sujeesh, president, Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturing Association.

According to Sujeesh, in the last two months, Ambattur IE incurred losses to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore. In the next 4-5 months, we will only be able to have 50 per cent of the usual business.

P Venkatesh, who works at a steel industry in Ambattur IE said, “I have a bike, but given the distance and cost to travel from Arakkonam, it is impossible for me to go. Like special trains, the government can arrange for special buses from a few areas to keep the supply chain moving. We are struggling for our daily expenses right now.”

Another major issue for the industries is the spike in cost of raw materials.

“Though the government has allowed transportation, truck drivers are saying they are facing issues. Also, products like petrochemicals are imported. So, we are facing a grave shortage. Cashing in on this, prices of all raw materials irrespective of availability have spiked,” said S Anburajan, president, Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association.

He added that most factories still have huge stocks of finished good and only after they are sold, 100 per cent productivity can begin.  This is expected to take at least two months. Industry players said steel prices increased by 25 per cent and copper by almost Rs 15,000 per tonne.


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