Wheels of misfortune: On crisis in automobile industry -Ashok Kumar, M Soundariya Preetha and Sangeetha Kandavel
The automobile industry is in the grip of an unprecedented crisis. The downturn in the economy has led to a dip in production and huge job losses across the country.
July was a difficult month for 28-year-old Rohit Rana. Since 2012, Rana had been employed in a diesel machine shop at Maruti Suzuki’s Gurugram plant in Haryana. As the eldest of three siblings, it became Rana’s responsibility to take care of his father, a retired Delhi Transport Corporation employee, and his ailing mother. He had got his younger sister and brother married off last year. His parents were looking for a bride for him. But their plans went askew when Rana, a contractual employee, suddenly lost his job in July.
Rana recalls how the contractor broke the news to him and about 40 others on July 13. “We were asked to go on leave for three months,” he says. The contractor said that production had dipped due to the slowdown in the economy, and their leave period could be extended. “This came as a shock to us. Many of my co-workers have families to take care of. They live in rented houses. We lost our jobs without any prior intimation. Some of us had worked at the plant for over a decade,” says Rana.
“I cannot go back to my parents and ask them to pay for my expenses,” says Rana. “I tried to look for a job at Maruti’s vendor companies in and around Gurugram, but I had no luck. Everyone spoke of the slowdown and said they were not hiring. In fact, there have been layoffs at vendor companies too, to cut costs.” Rana has now joined a BPO in Udyog Vihar. He gets about one-third of the salary he was earning at Maruti Suzuki, which is barely enough to pay for his room rent at Mullahera village in Haryana and meet his daily expenses. He is desperately hoping for a turnaround.
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