The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allowed work to resume on various infrastructure and development projects that were on halt due to nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. The coronavirus outbreak has massively disrupted several businesses in almost all spheres of the Indian Economy.
As per the Press Bureau of India’s release dtd. 1st May 2020 issued by Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) “Construction activities in urban areas have been limited to in-situ construction and construction of renewable energy projects,” had been allowed effective from 4th May 2020.
Various Industries and Projects are Opening amid Covid Pandemic
Metro Rail Projects
After one and a half month Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) commenced construction works on 6th May 2020 at Chennai Central and Wimco Nagar, North Chennai for Phase-I extension project.
Similarly, Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has also resumed work on Pune Metro project from 6th May 2020.
On 6th May 2020, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) resumed three major road projects in Chennai region. The estimated cost of these projects is Rs 2,800 Cr. NHAI, on 20th April 2020 resumed work on nearly 70%highway projects which were underway. Out of 375 projects, 260 projects received permission for resumption of works.
On 7th May 2020, redevelopment work resumed after a long gap of two months at Habibganj station in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Although Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had allowed construction activities from 4th May 2020, Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) and Delhi-Meerut Expressway have resumed after Ghaziabad district administration gave a green signal on 6th May 2020.
Construction / Real Estate Sector in NCR Region
The Real Estate sector has already been under severe financial stress and the Pandemic has caused havoc. However, on 4th May 2020, construction on real estate projects stared partially in Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway with limited available manpower and other resources. Despite being in Red zone, construction activities partly resumed in Delhi from 4th May as well.
Major e-commerce firms like Paytm Mall, Snapdeal, Amazon, Flipkart have resumed accepting and delivering orders for non-essential items. Cab-aggregator Ola and Uber have also resumed operations from 4th May 2020 in more than 100 cities in green and orange containment zones.
Oil & Gas, Refineries Sector
From 20th April 2020 state-owned Oil firms resumed work on projects either located in rural areas or the ones that have labour availability on site.
As reported by ET Energy World on 20th April 2020, “State-owned oil firms will resume as many as 511 projects involving over Rs 42,000 crore of investment with immediate effect as the country partially exited from an unprecedented nationwide lockdown on Monday”. Out of 511 projects, 196 projects are of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., 168 of Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd, 57 of Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, 32 of GAIL and 26 projects of ONGC.
Off the identified projects mentioned above Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IndianOil), resumed work on 64 select projects with a combined allocation of about Rs. 21,375 Cr from 20th April 2020. Also as per company’s press release dated 21st April 2020 “All critical locations of the Corporation continued operating during the lockdown period” which can imply that plant operations did not suffer much due to the lockdown.
GAIL India Ltd., in its press release dated 18th April 2020, mentioned about resumption of construction of various hydrocarbon infrastructure projects from 20th April 2020.
Construction work has resumed at new terminal of Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport at Patna, Bihar on 29th April 2020 after over a month’s gap.
Renewable Energy Sector
The construction of Renewable Energy (RE) projects resumed work from 20th April 2020 as per MHA guidelines. Major RE firms like Swelect Energy Systems Ltd., Inox Wind Ltd. resumed operations from 25th April 2020.
Some Prominent Companies
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) resumed operations at its two units in Uttarakhand from 29th April 2020 after about a month’s gap.
On 4th May 2020, JSW Steel resumed operations. India Cements also resumed partial operations at its facilities and in grinding units on 8th May 2020. Foxconn and Wistron, I-phone manufacturers have also resumed production from or after 4th May 2020.
As reported earlier, several cable manufacturing companies have been able to quite rapidly resume partial operations. Steel cable maker Usha Martin resumed partial operations at its Ranchi facility on 23rd April 2020.
Cables and Wires are the largest segment among the Indian Electrical Equipment Industry and also a critical backbone in all projects. Thus resumption of the Cable Industry is an important positive indication for Industry operations.
Transportation, the backbone of Industry, is still fighting hard for survival. The average load of the Industry is about 15 to 20% with issues of availability of drivers, clearances for movement of non-essential goods, uncertainty of return trips especially from red / orange zones and availability of manpower at various sites.
In summary, the Industry is still battling the Corona Virus pandemic with vigour, but various issues remain. Losses are mounting despite relaxation in lockdown measures, but hope for normalisation of industrial activity is driving Indian industry towards greater efforts.