Bajaj Auto says Aurangabad plant to remain operational despite 140 COVID-19 cases

Bajaj Auto has said its factory in Waluj in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district remains operational even as 140 COVID-19 cases were reported there. "We have more than 8,100 employees and contractors employed in our Waluj plant. Our current incidence of 140 cases of COVID-19 is less than 2% of our strength," it said.

More than 200 employees have tested positive and four have succumbed to Covid-19 as on Friday at Bajaj Auto’s factory at Waluj in Aurangabad, three people aware of the development told news agency.

The plant, also the largest manufacturing unit for Bajaj Auto, has been operating in two shifts after it had gradually resumed operations in the last week of April.

“About 165 workers were identified as Covid-19 positive cases until 3 days ago. This number is now more than 200,” the first person aware of the developing matter said, requesting anonymity.

A second person cited above said that while those who have tested positive are being sent into quarantine, the outbreak of Covid-19 among the factory’s employees could impact the company’s production schedules.

In a response to Mint’s queries, Ravi Kyran Ramasamy, a chief human resource officer at Bajaj Auto said that the Waluj plant has witnessed 140 positives and two deaths.

“We have more than 8,100 employees and contractors employed in our Waluj plant. Our current incidence of 140 cases of Covid-19 is less than 2 percent of our strength. Two of our infected Employees with underlying conditions of hypertension and diabetes have unfortunately succumbed to the infection,” he said.

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In another official statement released on Friday evening, the company said: “We had our first reported case on June 6. We have immediately taken all necessary measures for testing, contact tracing, self-isolation and complete sanitation as per protocol. All incidences were reported to the appropriate authorities.”

Ramasamy said that the company continues to provide all support, including medical assistance, to the affected employees.

Meanwhile, despite the large number of Covid-19 infections, the company has kept the plant operational.

“We will continue our normal business operations, while taking all necessary safety measures, as the alternative is to shut down our operations with ‘no work no pay’ which will have a drastic impact on our employees and supply chain,” Ramasamy said in a note.

No positive cases have been found at the other units of the company in Chakan (near Pune) and in Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).

Earlier, employees at other leading automakers such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt Ltd had reported Covid-19 positive cases, following which the companies had announced temporary shutdown to carry out sanitisation procedures.

The number of employees who had tested positive, however, was smaller in comparison to Bajaj Auto’s Aurangabad unit.