Thousands may lose jobs as crisis hits rice, dal mills

Karnataka: Thousands may lose their bread as crisis hits KK’s rice, dal mills

Representative Image

The COVID-19 crisis has had a cascading effect on business in the Kalyana-Karnataka (KK) region. Kalaburagi had reported the country’s first death due to the disease. 

The blow to the business in the region is taking a heavy toll on the lives of dailywagers in some districts of the region, billed as the state’s most backward. Daily business turnover of Kalaburagi, Bidar and Yadgir districts (put together) is estimated at over Rs 100 crore. The turnover has come down by about 60% after business establishments downed shutters due to the coronavirus fear.

Poor labourers from rural areas, who used to travel to the district headquarters daily in search of work, are now at the mercy of fate. If the bandh-like situation continues for another one month, the impact will be unimaginable.    

Read: PM Narendra Modi calls for 'Janta Curfew' on March 22

Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Amarnath C Patil said business establishments have downed shutters since Sunday in Kalaburagi district, the gateway to KK region. Minus the cement industry, the daily business turnover is Rs 60 crore to Rs 70 crore in the district.

The dal mills - a major driver of the economy - have been hit hard. The millers are feeling the heat as there are no buyers for the dal from the entire south India, he explained.

Bidar district has also been hit hard for the past few days. Bidar District Chamber of Commerce and Industry president B G Shetkar said loss of daily business, including retail, is around Rs five crore. The daily business turnover here is around Rs 40 crore.

For latest updates on coronavirus outbreak, click here

The crisis has dealt a deathly blow to Gangavati and Karatagi, the business hub of Koppal district, where 120 rice millers are located.

The millers lost business after malls and grocery shops were closed.

Karnataka Rice Millers’ Association secretary N R Srinivas said sale of rice to shops has reduced by around 50%. People have remained indoors owing to fear. Malls and grocery shops have downed shutters.

The Tungabhadra river belt, where a large number of rice mills are located, accounts for 60% of the rice production in the state.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox