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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: At a time when Odisha government is signing MoU for setting up of mega industrial units, there seems to be no ‘Sanjivani’ for the MSME sector ravaged by Covid-19 pandemic.

Many small-scale industrial units have downed the shutters after incurring losses to the tune of crores of rupees due to the pandemic and are staring at a bleak future without any financial help from the State government.

Paresh Sahu, a young entrepreneur, had set up his MSME unit named Sri Foods in Mancheswar Industrial Estate three years back. The unit was involved in manufacturing of soft drinks named Cheers and was the much important source of livelihood for around 40 families. The business was gaining pace when Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown knocked it hard.

When the restrictions were lifted, it was all over for Sahu. He was even unable to pay the rent for his unit and subsequently had to shut it down much to his dismay.

“I feel that the government does not have any focus on the expansion of the small units. It is only concerned about the big setups. Lands and other benefits are being provided for setting up of large scale industries, however, there are no such facilities for the MSMEs,” ruedSahu.

Sahu is not the only victim. According to the statement of MSME Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra in the Odisha Assembly, 3,207 industrial units have closed down due to Covid-19 in the past one year in the State. This apart, more than 8,000 units also shut due to non-covid reason.

But shockingly, the industry association has alleged the government does not have data on the actual number of MSME units in the State. Many units were not registered with the government. So the number of closed units is much higher than that of the official record.

OASME general secretary, Satwik Swain, said, “The raw material rate has increased while the demand of products manufactured by small units has decreased. The complicated situation has posed as a threat for sustainance of the MSME units.”

“The number of units affected by the Covid is much more in comparison to the account given by the minister in the assembly,” he added.

Meanwhile, industrial experts stressed for constitution of technical team to find out the actual reason behind closure of the industrial units.

Bhawani Shankar Pani, industrial expert said “Only allocating funds will not help the unit owners to come out of the crisis. The government should conduct segmentation of all the small industrial units to find out their actual problems. Subsequently, the experts should find out the solution and implement it. Besides, time-bound results should also be monitored."

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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