By Tara Chapagain, Pokhara, May 2: 34 out of 76 factories are in operation amid the nationwide lockdown in the industrial area of Pokhara Lekhnath Metropolitan City-10.
Out of 34 industries, 17 produce substantial food products like milk products, noodles, biscuits, mineral water, spices and so forth and two factories produce oxygen gases.
Some of the industries have been compelled to continue its operation despite the lockdown, said Bhusan Kumar Upadhaya, Manager at Pokhara Industrial Estate.
Although the government directed to continue manufacture of essential products, we have been compelled to operate packaging factories even though it doesn’t fall under the essential criteria, he added.
"The extension of lockdown, might add to the problem of availability of raw materials as it comes from India," said Upadhaya. "However, produced products are properly managed and delivered."
He said that it was difficult to maintain health and well-being of factory workers due to lack of health materials.
"We have not been able to purchase all necessary health equipments. We have asked for health desk from concerned local bodies but haven’t received any response from them," said Upadhaya.
Director of Pokhara noodles, Babu Ram Panta said, “We are operating one of two factories. This is solely for social service and we have no intention of making profit."
Only 12 per cent of work is being done, we are operating the industry to avoid food scarcity in the country, he added.
Panta said that 82 factory workers were being mobilised in the industries in line with all the industrial and health standards.
Likewise, Dinesh Thapa, founder of Gauri Shankar Foods said that the factory operation was resumed after two weeks of lockdown, in compliance with all the safety measures.
Currently, only 25 per cent of production is being done and the factory can survive with prevailing raw materials for around two months, said Thapa.
The industrial estate covering five Ropanis land has provided employment to over 3,000 workers.
With the ongoing lockdown, only 689 labours are working and living in industrial area.