PUDUCHERRY: Deprived of its workforce from Tamil Nadu, industries in Puducherry are set to scale up production, with the labour department extending the working hours of staff to a maximum 12 hours per day instead of the present eight hours for a period of three months.
This move of the Puducherry government in response to a CII representation would improve productivity in the manufacturing sector and also ensure supply of essential goods and services to various parts of the country, said M Sankaranarayanan, CII President. With the large presence of MSMEs in Puducherry, this would also help in strengthening the vendor supply chain of products manufactured here, he added.
Though almost 90 percent of the industries resumed operations, production remains as low as 30 to 40 percent due to various factors, particularly the shortage of the workforce, as the Puducherry government has disallowed engaging workers from Tamil Nadu for the time being, says Sankaranarayanan. Major units on the peripheries of Puducherry engage around 45 to 50 percent of industrial workers from Villupuram and Cuddalore districts of Tamil Nadu, he said.
It is not about the total workforce, but the shortage of workers in key areas like production. “The majority of our workers in the production unit are from Cuddalore district,” said R D Shrikanth, CEO of the Lenovo unit in Puducherry.
Stating that the labour department’s notification permitting workers to work for 12 hours a day is a positive step, M Nandakumar, Secretary of Sederapet Industrial Association, says the production can be enhanced to quite some extent by utilizing the existing workforce by staggering the shifts and re-engineering the shop floor.
Most migrant industrial workers have stayed back in Puducherry instead of returning home. “Out of 4300 industrial migrant workers in Puducherry, only around 1200 have approached the government to go back,” says Inspector of Factories R Murali.
As of now, industries are utilizing the existing stock of raw materials and components to clear the backlog of orders, said Nandhakumar. Since the lockdown came in March, raw materials and components were available in stock with industries since March is a high volume month for companies.
However, the logistics issues would have to be streamlined. Trucks are moving but very slowly. Most of the vendors are also yet to open in places like Mumbai and Karnataka though Chennai has opened today, said Nandhakumar.
No company can achieve 100 percent production in the next three months. "The challenge today is to complete existing orders, get some raw materials and see what the market looks like in June and July," said Nandhakumar.