Coronavirus ensnares over 20 industrial units in South Goa

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ROQUE DIAS | NT

Margao

The coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 20 industrial units in South Goa industrial estates as more than 250 employees working in these units were found to be COVID positive in July.

Most of the affected units are located in the industrial estates at Verna, Cuncolim, Madkai and Kundaim.

The rising positivity graph at the estates forced South Goa district collector Ajit Roy to order closure of five industrial units for 14 days. Roy invoked Section 34 (C) and (M) the Disaster Management Act 2005 putting strict conditions. 

“We collected details on these industrial units from July.  Some 250 employees working at over 20 industrial units in the district tested positive for the virus in July,” Roy explained.

The collector’s order stipulated strict instructions to managements of the firms.

However, the tough actions by the district administration have not gone down well with industrial estate associations, which tried to convince the district collector to soft-pedal on the closure.

The closed five firms are:  Tulip Diagnostics Pvt Ltd (all units based at Verna), Global Ispat Pvt Ltd (Cuncolim), Indo Spirit Beverages Pvt Ltd (Cuncolim), Sirdi Steel Plant Pvt Ltd (Cuncolim) andCommScope India Private Limited (Verna).

Two units, however, have been permitted to resume operations after completing 14-day closure period on the condition that they maintain maximum of 10 COVID negative employees in each shift.

It is pertinent to note here that one of the worst hit firms is Zuari Agro Chemical Ltd, which has reported 168 COVID cases. The company converted its Jai Kisan Club into a temporary quarantine centre for the COVID-infected workers, making available testing and medical facilities.

Sources at the district collector office claimed that some of the units were not coming clean on workers testing positive for COVID, and were trying to sweep the positive cases under the carpet.

Tulip Diagnostics, the company that manufactures diagnostic kits, was the first to be affected by the pandemic: the infection spread to other areas since company’s employees hail from various places of the district.