In a relief to thousands of factory managers in the state, the Tamil Nadu government has said the manufacturing site will not be sealed or shut if a factory worker turns Covid-19 positive.

Addressing a joint session with trade and industry, chief secretary K Shanmugam said the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for factories were evolving. The current one requires aligning the workplace with social distancing.

Theg governmenthas asked the industry to divide the work force into teams and zones. “We want industry to create a stand-by option. An occasion might come when a worker may turn Covid-19 positive. Production should not stop, instead only the section and person should be isolated. Industry need not fear stoppage of the factory,”

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) has been created to set up working women’s hostels on the lines of a dormitory. The institutional structure is in place with funding from the specially created Alternative Investment Fund (AIF), he said.

The government has also identified two locations, one in Salem for medical textiles, and the second in southern Tamil Nadu for an integrated textile park. “The Central government had asked us to prepare for textile investments which might move in (as global factories look to relocate into India). We are waiting to hear from the Government of India,” the chief secretary said.

TVS Motor company’s CMD Venu Srinivasan stressed the need to improve the social infrastructure. “For more than 30 years we are talking about an industrial hub between Trichy and Madurai and one outside Coimbatore. We have not done well on social infrastructure.

The state’s half hearted attempts and fear of social life corrupting the culture has resulted in it being a non-starter,” he said.

“We must create separate cities where a working executive is able to go out for a drink or dine with options (parameters where Bengaluru scores over Chennai), Srinivasan said.