While businesses have restarted in Belagavi as also in the industrial estates near Kolhapur city, factories are still locked up in the industrial belt of Shinoli-Halkarni in Chandgad Taluk, Kolhapur Dist. The village of Shinoli is only 15 Km from Belagavi but over 100 Km from Kolhapur city. It is probably this distance from the Government Authorities in Maharashtra that has spelt a death knell to the industries in this cozy, green belt of Maharashtra.
The Belagavi – Vengurla road has been blocked with mud and rocks, preventing any vehicles, including ambulances and commercial vehicles, from traveling on this route. This is against the rules set by the Central Government. The decision to block the road has been taken by Sub Divisional Officer (Praant) of Gadhinglaj, Kolhapur Dist and the block hasn’t been lifted despite over 6000 families affected due to the closure of businesses or the death of a citizen (case of a snake bite) who couldn’t be shifted to the hospital in Belagavi.
The Chandgad Taluka Chamber of Commerce and Industries held a meeting with the SDO, at her office to understand her perspective and to request her to clear the road at Shinoli and allow trucks and commercial vehicles to ply on the same, as per rules of the Central Govt.
But she said that she has blocked the road at Shinoli village as she has defined this as a containment zone.
Chandgad Taluka Chamber of Commerce and Industries asked her as to why this area has been defined as a containment zone when there are no Covid cases within a 10 Km radius of this spot? She replied that she has been given the powers to define containment zones and as per her assessment of risk, she has taken this decision. To put things in perspective, most industries in Belagavi reopened on 4th Apr. And one can see people playing cricket in Shinoli. But the road is blocked.
Chandgad Taluka Chamber of Commerce and Industries asked her if she will open it up in a week and she told us that she has decided that this road block will remain till the number of Covid cases in Belagavi District becomes Zero.
Chandgad Taluka Chamber of Commerce and Industries told her if it takes 4 months for the number of cases in Belagavi District to come down to zero and she doesn’t open the road, the companies will shut, people will lose their jobs and some workers and business owners may commit suicide. And by the time she opens the road, there may be no business left in that area.To this she replied that it is not her problem.
Chandgad Taluka Chamber of Commerce and Industries pleaded with her to review her decision. But she categorically refused saying this was her final decision and asked us to leave.