September 11: The production capacity of food industries producing essential commodities has not improved due to the extended lockdown and prohibitory order.
The government had allowed the food industries to operate even during the lockdown period, which was imposed on March 24 to control the spread of coronavirus infection. However, the production capacity of the industries kept declining due to the lack of necessary environment for their operation.
The food industry, which was operating at 30 percent capacity in mid-April, is now running at only 15 percent capacity.
President of the Association of Nepalese Rice, Oil and Pulses Industry, Subodh Kumar Gupta, says that the main reason for the lack of improvement in production capacity is the problem of labor management and lack of market mobility.
He believes that the government should create separate quarantine and isolation facilities for the industrial workers but the lack of interest shown by the government has posed further challenges in labor management.
Only 20 percent of the workers in the food industries operating in Birgunj, Biratnagar and other cities are from the respective districts, while 20 percent are from outside the district and 60 percent are Indians.
Currently, the workers from outside the district and India have not been able to return back to work due to the recent lockdown and prohibitory order. Industrialists say that the returned ones are also having problem staying at the workplace.