Consumer companies call on government for allowing manufacturing of essentials in red zones

NEW DELHI: With the government declaring 170 districts of the country as ‘red zones’ or hotspots areas (in other words areas with major outbreaks) to contain the spread of Covid-19, large consumer companies making essentials said manufacturing operations are at standstill at these zones, and called on the government for allowing the essentials to be continue to be manufactured.

Dabur India, maker of Real juice and Vatika shampoo, said while recent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs will definitely help ease the situation, forced closure of some factories of suppliers have stalled manufacturing of essentials.

“The forced closure of some factories of suppliers and their suppliers — who are mainly MSMEs — for key products like hand sanitizers, as they fall within the hot spot radius, is affecting smooth functioning of the supply chain. It is our request that companies that do not have any instances of Covid cases may be permitted to operate even if they fall within the radius of a hot spot, provided they adopt and implement all safety, hygiene and social distancing norms,” said Dabur India director – operations, Shahrukh Khan.

In West Bengal, food snacks manufacturing plants of many companies including PepsiCo, Britannia and ITC are not operating, leading to shortage of food snack items not only in the state but also all across North East, an industry official directly involved with the development said.

“Our Baddi plant is still closed and not being allowed to operate. This is impacting supplies of packaging material across the supply chain for all our partners,” said Vimal Kedia, chairman and managing director of packaging company Manjushree Technopack, which caters to multiple consumer goods companies such as Reckitt Benckiser, Coca-Cola and Dabur.

The government has said stringent containment measures will be implemented in hotspots and that all activities, barring essential services will be stopped in such areas.

If no case is reported for 14 days, the red zones will be earmarked as orange zones, and if no case is reported for 28 days, the districts will be classified as green zones. Areas where cases have doubled every four days are being designated as red zones.

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