New Delhi: As the government ordered a nationwide shutdown to stop the spread of coronavirus, a few weeks later, the lack of staff and the interruption of the supply chain caused some Indian industries to restart their efforts on Monday.
Although the state ban period has been extended to May 3, officials said that certain key departments can resume operations under strict conditions to prevent the economy from further bleeding.
These include agriculture, some manufacturing and construction industries-industries that can work in shifts and isolate workers, and employ millions of poor Indians who have been hit hard.
On the occasion of the policy relaxation, India reported the highest daily infection increase of -1553 new cases, a total of 17,265 cases and 543 deaths.
A senior railway official in Kolkata told AFP that although one-third of the staff was told to return on Monday, the attendance rate was very low because most employees simply could not go to work.
At the same time, the operators of several factories said that it was difficult for them to resume operations because few people appeared and the supply chain was interrupted.
Ritesh Srivastava, who produces homeopathic medicine in Lucknow, said: “Without raw materials, no transportation and no manpower, I cannot perform surgery.”
Some smaller factories said they could not comply with the strict workplace requirements for returning workers, and worried that employees would be blamed if they became ill.
Others said it was pointless to restart operations due to insufficient demand for goods.
At the same time, many unemployed people said they are trying to feed themselves and their families.
Rohit Sharma, a cable repairer in Noida, near Delhi, said: “Someone told us that certain areas will be open, but the reality is different.”
“Now, what can we do? Only by allowing us to work can we make money.”
The borders between states and territories are still closed throughout the country, preventing the travel of migrant workers.
After the blockade was ordered, thousands of workers went to their hometowns, some of them walked hundreds of miles and had little money or food.
Those who fail to do so are placed in crowded housing in the city, but many people want to be allowed to return to their villages.
The relevant departments of Kerala have succeeded in solving the virus transmission and praised Kerala. On Monday, following criticism from the central government, Kerala lifted several measures to ease restrictions, including opening restaurants.
Some states and territories, including New Delhi, the national capital, chose not to relax the blockade because of concerns about further infection.