After rumours circulated that two and three-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto has closed its manufacturing facility in Waluj near Aurangabad over a COVID-19 outbreak among employees, the company clarified on Friday that that the plant was functioning as normal and that all safety protocols were being observed.
"It has come to our attention that there are reports circulating that Bajaj Auto’s manufacturing facility at Waluj in Maharashtra has shut down due to incidence of COVID-19 amongst some employees there. At the outset we want to clarify that our manufacturing facility at Waluj is functioning normally," read the statement by Ravi Kyran Ramasamy, CHRO, Bajaj Auto Ltd.
Ramasamy added that after the company saw its first reported case on June 6, all necessary measures for testing, contact tracing, self-isolation and complete sanitation were taken as per the protocol, with all incidences reported to the appropriate authorities.
However, in a statement released later, Ramasamy said that there had been 140 cases of COVID-19, with two employees who had underlying conditions succumbing to the disease.
"We have more than 8100 employees and contractors employed in our Waluj plant. Our current incidence of 140 cases of Covid is less than 2 percent of our strength. Two of our infected employees with underlying conditions of hyper tension and diabetes have unfortunately succumbed to the infection," Ramasamy said.
Earlier, multiple reports circulated claiming the company had been hit with an outbreak of 79 COVID-19 cases.
"Post the country wide lockdown, our Waluj facility has been ramping operations from April 24, 2020 onwards. As part of the ramp-up, detailed cleanliness and health check protocols have been drafted and implemented in consonance and compliance with all Government regulations and guidelines. These protocols have been reviewed and approved by appropriate authorities and adherence is strictly monitored by our in-house health and security staff," the company's first statement said.
"From April 24 till June 6 2020, we had no Covid 19 incidence at our Waluj plant. However, as is well known, post the easing of lockdown progressively from June 1, there has been a general increase across the country in the rise of infection including amongst industries, armed forces, police, media and government institutions," it said.
"Likewise, we too 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," it said.
"We continue to provide all support including medical assistance to affected employees. We at Bajaj Auto, like the country at large, are now learning to live with the virus. 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," the statement read.