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Saurashtra industries rally, but will need help to survive crisis
Rajkot: While industry leaders in Saurashtra, which is home to several small- and mediumscale industries such as ceramics in Morbi, brass in Jamnagar and imitation jewellery, nonelectrical kitchenware items and engineering products, support the government’s lockdown in the face of COVID-19, there is still uncertainty. Insiders say that the lockdown will hit smaller industries the most.
Many have called some relief or compensation package from the government, to help industries which are already reeling under recession. Various industrial associations say they expect harder times once the lockdown is lifted since it will take at least three months to catch up on various loan instalments.
The ceramics industry, the world’s second-largest and India’s biggest ceramic cluster, had been expecting exports of around Rs15,000 crore for the next fiscal. “We will need at least 15 days to restart operations once the lockdown is lifted,” said, Mukesh Ughreja, president of the vitrified tiles division of the Morbi Ceramic Association.
Rajkot is home to around 500 units which produce more than 300 non-electrical kitchenware products, accounting for 80-90% of the nation’s supply. “Even before the lockdown, there were restrictions on exports at Kandla and Mundra ports. The rate of containers had increased. Our production was also affected due to fear prevailing among workers coming from other states, ” Pankaj Rathod, past president Rajkot kitchenware association, told First India.
At Jamnagar, the brass industry is facing losses of Rs750 crore a month. Asia’s biggest hub, Jamnagar supplies brass parts and products to Europe, America, UK, Germany and Arab nations, and has an annual turnover of around Rs2,000 crore. Rajkot Chamber of commerce President VP Vaishnav is of the opinion that “Despite the global slump, medium-scale industries in Saurashtra can survive if they receive support from the Central or state government.” Another industry leader said, “We urge the government to increase loan periods.”