Most firms are still functioning at about 50% of their capacity when compared to pre-COVID-19 scenario where the manufacturing sector had 85-90% of the workforce
More than six months into the pandemic, the industrial scenario in Mysuru – as elsewhere in the State – is beginning to look up, but only marginally.
The city known to be a cluster and hub for ancillary units for the auto component sector is gaining traction but most firms are still functioning at about 50 to 60% of their capacity.
Though there are signs of revival, it is too early to suggest that the manufacturing was fully back on track, said Ramprasad from the Nanjangud Industries’ Association. He said industries were beginning to get orders but a majority of the firms were doing with two shifts instead of three of 8 hours each.
“This is a far cry from the pre-COVID-19 scenario where the manufacturing sector would function at 85% to 90% of the capacity. But this is surely an improvement over the situation that prevailed during the lockdown,” said Suresh Kumar Jain, General Secretary, Mysuru Industries Association.
He said the labour force is back in most factories though the migrant labourers from U.P., Bihar and other States who constituted the bulk of the work force have not returned.
However, there is growing concern among the manufacturers that the surge in the pandemic was preventing the industrial units from working at their full capacity.
“The auto sector is showing signs of revival and the demand for components has gone up compared to what it was a few months ago. This is an encouraging sign. But the COVID-19 spread is decelerating any efforts to ramp up production,” said Sudhakar Shetty of the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI).
This is because the surge in the COVID-19 cases had led to adopting new protocols with reduced work force to ensure social distancing.
Only a fraction of the workers are being deployed during a shift and whenever an employee tests positive, the entire manufacturing process gets disturbed for a few days and this was becoming a regular affair, said Mr. Jain.
That the manufacturing sector and the industrial activity were yet to regain full traction is also evident in the power consumption which has declined.
“Nanjangud industrial area used to run up a bill of ₹15 crore to ₹20 crore per month towards electricity charges. But in the recent months following the pandemic, this hovers around ₹7 crore to ₹8 crore, which is an indication that the manufacturing units are functioning at half the capacity,” Mr. Ramprasad added.