Amidst the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Dharwad district, Karnataka, Tata Motors has decided to shut the Tata Marcopolo bus plant for 8 days for fumigation exercise. The plant will remain closed from July 26 to August 2, 2020, and during this period, only a handful of staff will be present on the premises for essential services and some maintenance work. While certain media reports suggest that some factory employees have tested COVID positive, the company has declined to comment on it. The Dharwad district is one of the highly affected areas in Karnataka, and the district has already reported over 3000 coronavirus cases so far.
Commenting on the development, a Tata Motors spokesperson said, "A thorough fumigation exercise is being undertaken within the factory premises, beyond the regular sanitisation undertaken on a daily basis. It will be conducted over 8-days from 26 July-2 August 2020, comprehensively covering all sections of the plant. During this period, the plant will have skeletal manpower to address only essential services and some maintenance requirements. Normal plant operations are scheduled to commence effective 3 August 2020."
Tata Marcopolo is the joint venture company between Tata Motors and Brazilian bus and coach manufacturer Marcopolo S.A.. The company says that since resuming operations in May, the plant has been following a comprehensive Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to deter the spread of the coronavirus. The company's preventive measures include - regular sanitisation of the factory premises, the mandatory wearing of masks and practising social distancing at various lines and processes as well as in the office and canteen areas.
Talking about the SPOs, the spokesperson added, "Everybody entering the plant is screened twice on a daily basis, at entry and exit. Further, infrastructure and fittings have been redesigned with foot-operated sanitizers and taps for cleansing hands and drinking water. Employee transport vehicles too are properly disinfected after every trip."