Britannia Industries has said that it is supportive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a nationwide lockdown but insisted that food commodities which are essential goods must flow freely between states. Britannia Industries MD Varun Berry highlighted that even if one link falls off the food supply chain, then the entire country would soon run out of stock. He added that it is imperative that the Centre issues all necessary permissions to ensure that there is no shortfall of food items.
Berry said, "Essential food commodities must be made available to people at all points in time and throughout the country to ensure that people don't indulge in panic buying. The food industry supply chain is disaggregated and dependent on inter-state movement of goods. Due to the nature of the materials, inventories across the chain are low. If even one link in the supply chain is broken, the country could run out of stocks of packaged food in the next 7-10 days."
He emphasised on the need to restore the supply chain for food products in entirety and allow is to function, albeit with adequate safety measures and police protection. "The supply chain includes suppliers of raw materials and packaging materials, food manufacturing factories, factory workers, transporters carrying materials and finished goods, depots, wholesalers, distributors and their salesmen. Necessary permits need to be immediately issued to all of them," Berry told BusinessToday.In.
Berry also said that Britannia factories follow all the due hygiene and social protocols. "But we need support from district authorities in allowing our factory workers to travel to the factory premises with appropriate safeguards," he added. He also said that district authorities must be made aware of all the permissions given by the Centre.
The Prime Minister announced a 21-day lockdown on Tuesday. Following the address, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a set of guidelines. It said that all factories and manufacturing units must be shut during the lockdown. However, exceptions will be made for factories and manufacturing units producing essential items such as food.