— Dawn
— Dawn

GUJRAT: The export-based units that were allowed to start operations are facing inconvenience in arranging the required raw material for manufacturing.

The unit owners now demand permission for their suppliers and allied industry to properly resume production.

The Gujranwala commissioner had permitted on Thursday at least 234 more industrial units of Sialkot, Gujrat, Gujranwala and Wazirabad to resume operations after around 328 export-based units were granted permission on April 20.

At least 300 applications from Sialkot-based exporters were submitted for approval, out of which export orders of around 100 units were verified by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan -- a prerequisite for receiving permission to reopen the industry.

However, resumption of operations has been linked with the units ensuring safety measures as per the government standard operating procedures for Covid-19.

Some exporters while talking to Dawn questioned how they could resume operations without supply of basic raw material. The supply chain should also be taken into account while issuing permission otherwise it was of no avail, they stated. They demanded the government authorities take notice and issue directions to the respective divisional and district administrations in this regard.

Nauman Hafeez Kalair, the Gujranwala additional commissioner (coordination), confirmed to Dawn that a number of applications had been received by the commissioner and respective deputy commissioners seeking permission for vendors and allied industry of electric fans, cutlery, surgical equipment, sports goods, leather and engineering industry to resume operations after ensuring official protocols for coronavirus.

The Gujrat district administration has recommended the reopening of only a few vendor units in the city, as only 15 export-based units had been granted permission to resume operations. Allowing around a dozen vendors to restart supply might not hamper efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Sources in the local fan industry said that a number of manufacturing units had been operating by locking their main gates and that too without complying with official protocols for Covid-19.

The protective measures at export-based units will be inspected by monitoring teams of the respective deputy commissioners in the next few days and only those units will be allowed to keep operating that had made satisfactory arrangements.

The factories are supposed to ensure testing of their workers and staff whenever suspected of contracting the virus, disinfection of the unit, reduction of staff, social distancing, provision of protection gear.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2020