Industrial activity at the Ambattur industrial estate in Chennai, one the oldest and biggest industrial cluster in Tamil Nadu, was almost negligible on Monday, amid lower demand and non-availability of migrant workers.

The State government had relaxed COVID-19 lockdown and given permission to the industrial estates to operate from Monday with 25% staff.

“One of the key issues to be tackled is the perception that Chennai is a hotspot with number of COVID-19 cases increasing. Parents of the workers are in panic and this perception has to be changed for us to get back to at least the normal level,” A.N. Sujeesh, president, Ambattur Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association.

He said the association laid stress on this issue in its meeting with Chennai Corporation officials on Monday.

The Ambattur industrial estate is dependent on 30,000 workers from other districts in the State and one lakh workers from other States.

It has 2,400 major units and 20,000 smaller units.

Mr. Sujeesh said that big automobile players had not yet got back to their optimal demand level. The Centre’s stimulus package had been a disappointment and more measures were needed to kick start the industries.

An entrepreneur of a small unit who did not wish to be named that a fine of ₹10,000 was levied for violation of standard operating procedures.

“First-time they should give a warning and penalty could be imposed for further violations,” he felt.

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