Production units, businesses hit in Chennai – The Hindu

Chennai News

Cyclone Nivar has forced business houses, industrial estates and manufacturing units in Chennai to pause their systems and conveyor belts. Businessmen and entrepreneurs, who have their operations at locations where the cyclone will be passing, have indicated that they have learnt enough lessons from the 2015 floods and Cyclone Vardah in 2016, and have taken ample measures to ensure that the damage is minimal.

At the Sriperumbudur belt, an automobile hub nicknamed the ‘Detroit of India’, most companies have asked employees not to report for work on Thursday.

An employee of one of the car manufacturing firms in this belt said, “Employees were asked to go home after the first shift on Wednesday. We have now received communication not to come to work and stay safe at home.”

The MSME sector, which was badly affected due to the floods in 2015, has taken measures, but units here are still worried about closing down businesses for the cyclone.

“We are yet to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and a day’s closure means a huge loss for small units,” said a proprietor of an MSME unit in Guindy.

“With just 80 days of work in this financial year, MSME units situated in Tamil Nadu, especially those in the industrial estates at Ambattur, Guindy, Sriperumbudur, Irunkattukottai, Oragadam, Gummidipoondi, etc., are reeling from tremendous pressure for survival. With heavy rain and winds, many units are expected to lose materials worth several crores kept in the factory and held at sites,” K.E. Raghunathan, convenor, Consortium of Indian Associations, pointed out. He added that industrial estates continue to be prone to floods and calamities.

R. Selvam, secretary of the Thirumudivakkam Industrial Estate Manufacturers’ Association, said most of the units are closed.

“We have deputed our association team to clear the waterlogging within the estate,” he added.

For the IT sector, a majority of its employees are already working from home. The operations head of a leading IT firm said most employees are working from their homes, which is away from Chennai, and the impact would be minimal.

“Only 15% of our workforce is in Chennai,” he added.

The retail sector, which was bleeding until the festive season commenced, has also downed its shutters.

Suhail Sattar, chairman, Chennai chapter, Retailers’ Association of India, said, “Most of the stores are shut today [Wednesday]…We are hoping that this blows over and we are able to get back to normal functioning. As for the impact, we are hoping that it would be limited to the loss of sale for a day or two.”