CHENNAI: Several industries in the city continue to grapple with staff crunch even as the state government has allowed industrial estates to operate with 100 per cent workforce. While most of the migrant workers from North India are yet to return due to various reasons, those living in nearby Arakkonam, Thiruthani and Tiruvallur do not have adequate transport facilities to come for work.
“Ambattur Industrial Estate is well connected through suburban rail service. Since the suburban services are yet to resume, many blue-collar workers living in Arakkonam and Thiruthani are unable to return to work. If they take a bus, it would cost at least `150 per person per day, which is unaffordable,” said M Balachandran, president, Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association (AIEMA).
He added that many migrant workers from North India too have not returned due to floods. “It is raining heavily in Odisha, Assam and Bihar. Many workers are unable to even step out of their homes.” Meanwhile, the workers are worried about lay-offs. P Senthil from Tiruvallur who works at one of the industrial estates in the city said, “Ever since Covid began, industries have been talking about cutting manpower and going for automation.
Currently, we are unable to shell out much from our pockets for conveyance as we are already in debts. The industries should consider this and bear at least one side travel charges.” Industry players, however, said they themselves are suffering from fund crunch. “Godowns are shut and raw materials are not available. Only two of the 10 blue-collar staff are coming to work.
As we are making no profits, it is not practical to spend money on travel expenses of workers. The government should start suburban train services, at least for people working in a few sectors,” said KV Kanakambaram, president, Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association, Guindy.