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Migrant workers stay back

The New Indian Express, India, 4 June 2020 - Providing labourers with food and accommodation prompted them to stay back, which helped revive the timber industry.Stakeholders hope the sector can return to full production capacity once the demand for products picks up in other states

The welfare activities organised for migrant labourers during the initial phases of the Covid-induced lockdown have come in handy for the timber industry as production in small factories has witnessed a revival. Thanks to the initiatives, which included providing the migrant labourers with food and accommodation, many of them stayed back. As a result, the stakeholders hope the industry can return to full production capacity once the demand for timber products from here picks up in other states.

Ernakulam is the hub of the timber industry in Kerala, with plywood factories in Perumbavoor and nearby areas employing over one lakh migrant workers.“Fortunately, fewer migrant workers from here left for their respective states. This helped plywood factories resume operations from the last week of April,” said Azees Pandiyarapilly, general secretary, Sawmill Owners and Plywood Manufacturers Association (SOPMA).

He said when special train services to take the guest labourers home were started, many decided against leaving after those who did told them about the financial hardships back home. During the lockdown, the government had directed factory owners to arrange facilities for the guest workers. The district administration too provided food and essentials to them.The district has around 1,400 timber-related units. Of this 385 are plywood factories. Over 200 factories are engaged in timber peeling.



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