Two-wheeler major Bajaj Auto is among the first automobile companies in India to temporarily shut down its manufacturing units due to the
coronavirus pandemic. The company has also curbed all travel and implemented a work-from-home policy.
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of
Bajaj Auto said, “From today onwards, all our plants that is at Akurdi and Chakan at Pune and both our plants in Aurangabad and Pantnagar are all shutdown or are in the process of being shut down. We are not reworking anything because there is nothing to rework right now. The safety and well-being of people is paramount."
"In terms of the economic assessment, we are preparing ourselves for a 8-week halt because while we have been told for now to suspend everything until March 31, we think that we need to be prepared for at least another two-three weeks thereafter. So, we would like to believe that we should be prepared for a four-week kind of shutdown. It would be prudent to think in this manner,” he said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.
“Even when we start after that to get the entire supply chain going and in particular the immigrant labour - that is the backbone of the supply chain - all of this to fall into place smoothly will take upto another four weeks. So I think we are looking at an horizon of 8 weeks,” he added.
When asked about how to start measuring the idea of recovering the loss, Bajaj said, “With the situation changing as rapidly as it is and not only in India but in our export markets as well, it is very difficult right now to do any calculations on the results side. I think what we all must focus now is on the cost side as to what measures we can take to minimise the spread of this problem and what we can do in order to find a prevention, medically for this. That is what we are focused on because particularly Bajaj has an involvement in homeopathy and through homeopathy we think we can stop this epidemic.”
Talking further on how homeopathy can help combat this epidemic, he said, “I, myself, have been involved with homeopathy for the last 18 years. We have set up a homeopathy center 10 years ago. One of the greatest homeopaths in the world today is Dr Rajan Sankaran in Mumbai. He has had access for the last few weeks to infected people in Iran and he has been working with them through his assistants over there coming to the conclusion that the homeopathic remedy Camphora 1M - and not the Arsenicum album 30 that people are talking about – is both a great curative and a very powerful prophylactic or a homeo-prophylaxis for this. This has now been dispensed to as many people as he could get hold of in Iran, in Nepal, in Netherlands and everybody has responded very positively."
"We are now trying to push it through the medical bureaucracy in Maharashtra and Delhi with the help of the political people. All protocols have to be followed to make this more scientific but let me tell you when H1N1 came to India, Pune was the epicenter of the swine flu and again the homeopathic remedy gelsemium protected all of us,” he further added.
“On our part, we have to play our role first. So, we are making three things very clear that
at least up until March 31 for now and then we have to see how the situation evolves – one there will be no job losses at Bajaj Auto, two , there will be no salary cuts and three there will be no exceptions."
"We are about 10,000 staff and workmen that are on the payrolls of Bajaj but we also have between 2,000 and 3,000 contract employees only in the non-production or non-core areas as we call them such as transport, canteen, gardening things like that. So we are going to cover everyone in terms of jobs and salaries till the end of the month and we are going to do our best to take care of our suppliers as well. So the whole supply chain is supported adequately,” he stated.“I hope the government steps in and indicates their support quickly, which will reassure a lot of people because all the stress doesn’t help you to cope with the virus better in any case. The big boys like us will look after ourselves but it is the SMEs that need support immediately,” Bajaj added.