Ahmedabad industries facing absenteeism problem

By P.S.Anantharaman, IANS,

Ahmedabad : Several industries here suffered from worker absenteeism Monday following the serial blasts last Saturday, inquiries made by IANS reveal.

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Several factories as well as commercial establishments reported that fewer workers had shown up Monday. Most of these absentee workers are those who come into the city from nearby villages, several factories and commercial establishments told IANS.

They are pre-dominantly agricultural labourers who get employed as casual labourers during the time when there is no work on the fields, they said.

Maganbhai Patel, president of the Small Scale Industries Association, listed three reasons for this shortage. The first is the fear factor. Parents back home have recalled their wards because they are not sure that the situation in the city is normal. They want their wards to work on the fields until the picture becomes clearer, he said.

The second factor is that security has become tight after the blasts. He said the police question closely those who come into the city early or leave late at night leading to avoidable delays. Tiny units in industry or trade find it difficult to issue identity cards to workers due to lack of resources.

The third and final reason is that there are still “rumours” floating that there are still more bombs in the city waiting to explode. This is scaring away workers, he said.

Patel said he cannot precisely quantify the shortage of workers but added it could range from 2 percent to 10 percent depending upon the size of the unit and the nature of business. He, however, expected that normalcy in the real sense will return within a week.

Patel said there is also the problem of supply mobility as the rumour factor results in trucks carrying inputs meant for the industries or wares for the trade not arriving on time.

Bicycle business is another trade sector that is feeling the pinch of worker shortage, he said. But he felt that the problem will be got over soon. The real problem that he anticipates is that payments from “outside” clients could get disrupted because of the current uneasy situation in the city following the Saturday blast. The business has a monthly turnover of Rs.2.5 billion and any lag in the arrival of “receivables” is bound to affect business.

Ramesh Saraf, of the Gujarat Roller Mills Federation, told IANS that flour mills are not experiencing any worker shortage as most of them are located on the outskirts of the city. He added that the Federation has directed mill members to ensure supply of wheat flour at all costs to the city whatever be the circumstances.