Industry & Lockdown

‘Now, shortage of skilled labour will haunt industry for a long time’

The Tribune interview

‘Now, shortage of skilled labour will haunt industry for a long time’

Anil Singhania, MD, Singhania International

Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, June 5

Singhania International was established in 1995. It manufactures fasteners and steel wires for the automotive industry. The company has been exporting their products for quite long but due to lack of the skilled labour, and unavailability of raw material, their export enquiries have not been redressed in a proper manner, feels Anil Singhania, MD of the company. At the same time, he feels “not to over expand” as it could take several sudden turns.

What is the outcome of pandemic for you?

There has been a lot of learning and reflection over the past two months, due to pandemic and government imposed lockdown. Lockdown has made us believe, nothing is permanent. It takes a moment, for the whole life to change. No one had imagined anything like this before, which will altogether halt the work life of mankind.

What challenges you are facing now during unlock 1.0?

As an industry owner, we had to face a lot of challenges, including migration of labour, cancellation of existing orders and lost opportunity on new orders. We were seeing lot of demand/hopes of business from countries like Australia, New Zealand and countries in the Middle East, where either the situation was comparatively better than most other places and mostly because the work on construction projects was not halted. Now, when the work is resuming to normal, the industry in general, and we being a part of the industry, as well, are facing a lot of challenges, due to migration of skilled labour. Although domestic demand is yet to pick up, we are seeing a surge in export enquiries and orders.

But we have been facing a new kind of problem due to unavailability of raw material, and skilled/trained labour returning back to their homes. The government should not have run Shramik Special trains, if they really wanted the business to come back to normal.

How are you continuing without skilled labour?

We are tackling labour issues by hiring new workers and training them, with the help of our technical / senior staff to perform different jobs/duties as per requirement of our manufacturing processes. We are also supporting our existing labour by ensuring that they do not face difficulties with their basic necessities. Besides, training is also being provided on working in a new kind of scenario/world order, where social distancing is of prime importance.

Are you working for any noble cause?

Besides being a businessman, I dedicate my time towards social causes as well. I am the managing trustee at Dream and Beauty Charitable trust (DBCT), Doraha. This trust is headed by its Chairman Anil Monga, who is an NRI from Ludhiana, based in USA for more than 20 years now. DBCT works for five main causes, which includes Heavenly Palace (a heaven on earth for senior citizens - an old age home); Marg Darshan (Free vocational and skill training is provided to people from underprivileged backgrounds.

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