Waiting for Orange

Forbes India|June 5, 2020

Waiting for Orange
As Nagpur continues to be a red zone, industries struggle with labour, finances, supply and demand even after restrictions are partly lifted
Pranit Sarda

Until two months ago, Nagpur Polyfilms used to make bottles for confectionary, country liquor, beverages, food items, cosmetics, ayurvedic and allopathic formulations, and local packaged water companies. Until the Covid-19 situation hit, they had no sanitiser manufacturers on their client list. After the first phase of the national lockdown was announced on March 24, a lot of businesses (especially in the pharmaceutical sector) shifted to producing santisers, and thus came the demand for sanitiser bottles.

With about 300 Covid-19 cases in Nagpur as of May 13, and a majority of them restricted to just two areas— Mominpura and Satranjipura—people have been appreciative of Nagpur Municipal Corporation Commissioner Tukaram Mundhe and his strict measures in helping control the spread of the virus. But the city continues to remain a red zone, and though it is slowly limping towards normalcy after some restrictions were lifted on May 13, industrialists think it will be a while before operations get back to normal, and economic activity restarts.

“Mundhe has done a great job in containing the coronavirus but it’s high time industries start here, too, starting from liquor. Everything is linked to liquor,” says Aditya Mantri, managing director of Nagpur Polyfilms. Resuming the liquor business is connected to the revenue of every other business, besides increasing government revenue. As alcohol production resumes, the food and snacks industry will see an increase in demand, along with local beverages, he says. All of which will help Nagpur Polyfilms.

The Mantri family runs three businesses—Nagpur Polyfilms, Ginni Agro, a manufacturer of whole wheat flour and gram flour, and Polyfilms Industry that manufactures plastic bags. All three businesses are running, but at a capacity of 40 percent with a workforce of 50 percent. “Our plant is running only because of sanitiser bottle orders,” says Aditya.

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June 5, 2020