GCCI writes to govt, requests to allow agriculture industries to operate

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GCCI has written to Gujarat government to let agriculture industries operate amid India lockdown due to coronavirus (Logo)

The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Wednesday wrote to the state government requesting to allow industrial units manufacturing agricultural inputs such as seeds, pesticides and fertilisers to continue operations during the lockdown period. The trade body also sought time for industries to pay their energy bills.

In a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, GCCI president Durgesh Buch stated that industries dealing with agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, feedstuff, pesticides and food additives as well as those manufacturing agricultural implements and machinery be allowed to operate.

"We are passing through extremely testing times and in such a situation, it is critical to ensure the uninterrupted supply of essential items and services. The farmers are greatly dependent on such inputs for their production, which in turn is essential to ensure food security, especially during this period," stated the letter.

It also stated that Gujarat should emulate Karnataka, Telengana, Jammu and Kashmir Punjab and Haryana, which have decided "to exempt the production and logistics of these agri-inputs manufacturing industries".

In a separate letter to state energy minister Saurabh Patel, the chamber sought relief in payment of electricity bills. "Due to the complete lockdown, it would be extremely difficult for trade and industries to pay their energy bills within the mentioned due dates... We request you to extend the due dates for payment of energy bills till the lockdown is revoked," stated Buch in the letter.

GCCI also wrote to the Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday asking the central bank to issue directions to banks and financial institutions to "relax the norms for levy of penalty or interest for delayed payments in case of credit cards and loan installments, including EMI". This, according to the chamber, will help both the industry and the common man.