Industrial activity picks up in Kashmir: Govt

Government has said that industrial activity in areas which are not designated as Red Zones commenced with priority being given to restarting manufacturing units supplying essential commodities and medical supplies.

“We have restored industrial activity and more importantly the fruit that was lying in cold stores was a concern and now about 1450 trucks have left from cold stores to Delhi and other terminal markets”, said Director Industries & Commerce Kashmir, Mehmood Ahmad Shah.

“There are 31 CA stores holding about 25000 MT of apple and this fruit would be gradually exported to fruit markets till the middle of June”, he added.

“About 80 packaging units manufacturing card board boxes are also functional. By allowing cold stores and card board units to resume operations, the fruit crop would get the much needed packaging and marketing support.  In next 10 to 15 days, cherry season is going to start. Both cold stores and card board packaging units shall cater to the cherry crop and benefit the growers and fruit dealers. Since the shelf life of cherry is very short, this year more emphasis will be on canning of the produce to increase its shelf life”, Director Industries said.

Similarly to give fillip to the construction sector, cement plants, brick kilns and stone crusher plants have also been allowed to restart with in-house labour. Giving details, Director Industries Kashmir said that cement factories were initially asked to dispatch their existing stock and now they have commenced manufacture of cement as well.

“Besides, wood based industrial units comprising plywood factories and veneer plants have also been allowed to function with necessary precautions in place for workers. This would resume export of ply wood and allied wood based products to outside markets”, he added.

These developments come in the wake of Government permitting manufacturing activities in the Industrial Estates and notifying the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for regulating industrial activities. The guidelines allow limited manufacturing activity of  essential commodities like basic food processing items like rice, flour, milk, bread packed food items, baby food products, packaged drinking water, medicines, soaps, sanitizers,  disinfectants, cotton masks etc.  

Industrial Units have been asked to make arrangements for stay of workers within the premises, maintaining proper hygiene, ensuring frequent cleaning and use of masks and social distancing.

To meet the demand of masks, Handloom Corporation and Khadi& Village Industries Board have also been mobilised to produce masks and 28 units are engaged in producing about 54500 masks per day and a total of 9.50 lakh masks have been supplied till date as per the official statement issued by Industries & Commerce Department.

Shah said that Unit holders of Industrial Estate Lassipora have contributed Rs 500,000 to set up a quarantine centre in the Estate and five Covid- 19 Testing Booths have been donated by owner of a prominent steel manufacturing plant from IE Rangreth which have been provided to the hospitals.

“One decontamination tunnel has also been installed at SanatGharBemina as a part of CSR initiative,” he added.