Wood auctions get delayed due to guidelines against public gatherings.
Due to the lockdown, the furniture industry is seeing a downfall in business. Labourers working in the industry are going through a tough time. While many have left their jobs, a few still remain because they have no other option.
Mohd Sajid who runs a furniture manufacturing unit in Lucknow said, “Business is severely affected because shops are closed and there are hardly any orders.”
He mentioned that his yearly turnover used to be Rs 15-20 lakhs, but now he only gets 10% of that.
Marriages used to be a big revenue source of income for the furniture industry, but very few have happened since last year. Due to this fall in turnover, the staff that used to be paid Rs 20,000 a month, hardly gets Rs 8000, Sajid added.
Noman Ahmed, who owns a sawmill in Aishbagh, Lucknow, stated that contractors haven’t been able to buy wood as the government organised auctions are on a halt and as public gatherings are restricted.
Lucknow contractors who get wood from various auction depots on Kursi Road, in Gorakhpur, Bahraich etc are not able to reach these depots, due to the lockdown, said Azam Khan who owns a plywood mill.
From people working on sawing machines to the carpenters and those in the wood polishing profession, all are affected due to no work, according to Industry sources.
In Lucknow, there are around six sawmills, 10-12 plywood mills and more than 40 furniture manufacturers per area. And all are struggling with the fall in income.
Some mills are still open and continue to keep the labourers equipped. Rais Khan who works in a mill said, “There is no supply of wood and the furniture shops are closed so no demand as well, but we are still trying to keep the workers run sawing machines, so that they don’t run out of jobs. These workers are also paid whatever we can provide at present”.
The manufacturers see no relief as long the pandemic continues.