Coronavirus outbreak: Yamunanagar plywood industry seeks relaxation amid lockdown in Haryana

Amid a number of demands, plywood manufacturers’ body has asked the district administration to allow them open their units within the MC limits for 2-3 days to take stock of raw material

CITIES Updated: Apr 19, 2020 22:28 IST

Bhavey Nagpal

Bhavey Nagpal
Hindustan Times, Ambala

Hindustantimes – Plywood and related industry of Yamunanagar district is also not untouched by nationwide lockdown imposed by the Centre in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

With the central government hinting at relaxations to be given to some sectors in the coming days, traders of one of Asia’s largest timber markets are also hoping to get some respite in their business. Despite the district being declared a green zone, the government’s move will not largely affect this industry as the units are scattered and most of them come under the municipal corporation (MC) limits.

‘ALLOW US OPEN UNITS FOR 2-3 DAYS’

All India Plywood Manufacturing Association president Devendra Chawla said, “The industrial units are spread across both Yamunanagar and Jagadhari cities. A large area comes under the MC limits and so does the plywood industries.” “We have asked the district administration to allow us open our units within the MC limits for two-three days so that we can check our raw material, including wood, glue and other chemicals,” he said. Nearly a thousand units, including plyboard and peeling factories, are operational across the district.

Deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar said that as per the guidelines of the central government, there are a few standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to premises and labour that are to be followed by the applicants. “Industries within MC limits cannot operate as per the order, however, the request of the plywood industries related to the checking of their raw material has been forwarded to the state government for consideration,” he said.

ONE LAKH PEOPLE LINKED TO INDUSTRY

With more than one lakh people directly or indirectly linked to the plywood industry in the district, the association has also urged the state government to help them during this economic slowdown. In an online meeting held few days back, the association asked the state government to waive off their fixed charges on electricity bills and refund Rs 200 crore collected from them as ‘licence fee’.

“Governments of Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan have decided to charge electricity bills as per usage but Haryana government has only given us a rebate of Rs 10,000. We are demanding waive off of fixed charges, the remaining should be taken as per the usage and our pending bills of March and April be deducted from the security amount,” Chawla said.

‘DEFER LOAN INSTALMENTS’

Other demands of the plywood association are — assistance from the central government to export Indian plywood and furniture to Middle East and European countries, deferment of loan instalments and waive off the moratorium period interest. State education and forests minister Kanwar Pal, who is also an MLA from Jagadhari, said, “Amid this global economic slowdown, we are already trying to help industries in the state. I will raise the issue of waiving off the fixed charges during the cabinet meeting with chief minister.” About the demand of licence amount, he said, “Our government had decided to do away with charging this fee and refund the amount to the industrialists. The matter is under process.”

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