In a move aimed at social distancing to protect the workforce from COVID-19 pandemic, the country cement major Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd has suspended cement production across its plant locations in the country. The company operates across nine states and 12 manufacturing units with a combined annual capacity of 26.5 million tonnes.
“We are acutely aware of the current grave situation due to the breakout of COVID-19. In line with the continuous appeal for social distancing by Prime Minister and Chief Ministers of states where we have our operations, we decided to suspend production across all our plants. The plants will remain closed until further notice. During this hour of crisis, all employees and communities living around our plant locations will be provided with any support that they may need to handle the situation caused by the Coronavirus,” the company’s MD & CEO Mahendra Singhi says.
“We are continuously monitoring the situation and the immediate task is to ensure that the chain of transmission of COVID 19 breaks. We will decide to restart production once the lockdown is over, basis the directions of the state and central governments,” he adds.
While cement production is continuous in nature and the plants have requisite permission from both the state and the central governments to operate with minimum employees during the lockdown, Singhi said that the company will only carry out mandatory activities required for safety and security of the plants in the larger interest of employees, workers, their families, local community and above all the nation.
Besides, he outlines the company’s “employee-friendly” measures for physical and mental wellbeing:
- Launched a centralised 24×7 support and helpline system for employees across the country. Any employee in distress can directly reach out to the central team on designated contact via WhatsApp numbers and e-mail address to seek support. In case any employee feels that he or she have COVID-19 symptoms, a team of doctors will immediately provide assistance and support to the person. The company has made sure that its regional offices and plants have enough masks, sanitizers, groceries and milk for the employees. All the bachelor employees at plant location have been moved to the guest houses.
- While salaries are credited at the end of the month, the March salary will be deposited by March 28 to boost employee morale.
- The company is not deferring joining of new employees. Instead, all the joining formalities of as many as 70 new people including induction are happening online. The company is also taking summer interns and re-modelling the projects for them so that they can pursue the same online. For the contractual workers, the company is providing bi-monthly payments so they do not have to wait till month end to buy essential commodities
- Paying adequate attention to the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees by conducting online Bhagavad Gita discourse to ensure they stay positive and calm. Going forward, this will practice every day
“We are thus utilising and harnessing these 21 days to change the entire organisation’s behaviour pattern so that spirits remain high and we emerge stronger once this crisis blows over,” he quips