Industries called to follow govt guidelines, SOP

Vasco: Goa State Industries Association (GSIA) President Damodar Kochkar said industries must ensure that all the guidelines of the government and the standard operating procedure (SOP) circulated by GSIA are meticulously followed.

He warned that any concealment of positive cases will adversely affect the other workers, their families and this will have chain reaction on industrial activity in the State.

“In Verna Industrial Estate, a 100-bedded COVID care centre has been set up with generous contribution by some of the industries and assistance from Verna Industries Association (VIA),” Kochkar informed during the virtual annual general meeting.

The entrepreneurs have been advised to learn to live with COVID-19 pandemic.

A swab collection centre has also been set up and a RT-PCR COVID testing machine has been sponsored to State District Hospital, at Margao. Considering that the government is also under pressure, Kochkar appealed to other industrial estate associations in Goa to emulate the example set by Verna Industries Association.

Vice president Gautam Verlekar informed the members about the modalities of the virtual meeting. Secretary Sameer Keny presented the annual report on the GSIA activities.

The members were apprised of various initiatives taken by GSIA at the government level, especially at Goa-IDC.

Keny said, “Various meetings held by GSIA with Goa-IDC and Goa Electronics Ltd to get some of the online services by Goa-IDC started.” Keny informed about the various demands put forth by GSIA before the government for revival of the industry.

During the question and answer session, some of the members were sceptical of government’s intentions. Despite the fact that the economy of the State now largely depends on industrial sector, the government gives scant attention to the industries.

Several members voiced their concern over the introduction of the Industrial Disputes (Goa Amendment) Bill 2020 in spite of joint representation by GSIA, GCCI and CII. The amendment to Section 25F of the Act, which enhances the payment of compensation to workers from present 15 days of wages to 45 days of wages, will destroy MSME sector in Goa.

Kochkar said, “In spite of our efforts, the government did not heed to our request. The enhancing of compensation under Industrial Disputes Act will be counterproductive to State’s plan to attract investment. It will deter investors from setting up industrial units in Goa.”

“Why should an investor invest in Goa when the industrial law is much better in other States? This is the question which will worry many of the industrial units who had planned expansion of their facilities in Goa,” he added.

Meanwhile, Verna Industrial Estate will have its COVID Care Centre with capacity of 100 beds by Tuesday.

GSIA president Damodar Kochkar said that the facility would be launched at Verna in a closed down industry sponsored by K R Naik.

Kochkar said, “On Thursday the officials from South Goa Collector inspected the premises where we are planning to set up COVID Care Centre and they okayed it. So we can expect it to be open most probably by Tuesday.”

He said it will be a 100-bedded centre with separate place for ladies and gents and also have all facilities such as provision for hot water, kettles, etc.

Kochkar said a food contractor has been finalised and the COVID Care Centre will have area for doctors, nurses and medical team as well.

Kochkar said, “This facility will be used for keeping COVID positive asymptomatic patients employed in Verna Industrial Estate. They have also managed to get its COVID testing machinery last week and immediately they have started swab testing.

“The machinery is operated by the professionals. Within 24 hours we will be able to get swab test results due to the availability of our own testing facility. We have been assured by the South Goa Collector that the facility will be administered and run by him,” Kochkar added. [H]