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Friday, Nov 03, 2006

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Truck, bus strike causes daily loss of Rs 3 cr in Cochin SEZ

G.K. Nair

Kochi , Nov 2

The strike by bus and truck operators in Kerala, which entered the fourth day on Thursday, has caused units in the Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) to lose an estimated Rs 3 crore daily.

"When we are all trying to remove the stigma on the State as a place of strikes, hartals and labour militancy, this sort of transport strike will not help us improve the situation," Mr K.K. Pillai, President of the CSEZ Industries Association, told Business Line.

The CSEZ is shown as a showpiece to prospective investors and buyers. Many foreign clients visit the units in the zone every day. Now they are also witnessing the shortage of labour and delay in shipments caused by the transport strike, he said.

The attendance of employees has dropped by more than 60 per cent, which in turn has affected the production schedule. In addition, ready shipments have been blocked by the absence of container and truck movement. Similarly, raw material supply has been badly affected.

These kind of disruptive activities are taking place at a time when the CSEZ is targeting a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore in the current fiscal, he added.

The substantial drop in employees' daily attendance has resulted a production loss of Rs 3 crore a day.

Apart from this, it is failing the units in meeting their export commitments.

Many may find it difficult to comply with the delivery schedule, he said.

As a result, the companies will have to pay penalty and or face cancellation of future orders, he added.

The strike is having a similar impact on Technopark, the rubber park, food park, etc.

"In this scenario, if the State Government does not act wisely in time, our economic growth is going to nosedive."

The association is making an appeal to the Government to take immediate action before the situation deteriorates. "If the strike continues for few more days, the industries as a whole, and the export sector in particular, are going to fail miserably."

Meanwhile, the Government is said to have taken a tough stand in dealing with the striking bus and truck operators, by taking over trucks and buses besides running the trucks stranded at check posts such as Walayar carrying food materials, with police escort.

The operators are striking against the decision to introduce speed governors in their vehicles to arrest speeding, in order to prevent accidents.

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