The bakery business in Mumbai has been badly hit as a number of migrant labourers have gone back to their native places amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Some of those in the business fear that if this situation continues for some more time, there may be shortage of bakery products in the city.
During a visit to 'Metro Bakery' in Kurla area, its owner Habib Ansari was found busy making toast and khari (a fluffy baked snack) along with his son-in-law and two labourers. "I have completely shut one of my bakery outlets while I am running this unit with only four people, including myself. I am in this business since last four decades but never saw such a situation in my life," Ansari told PTI.
He said their output has been reduced to just a few kilograms from 400 to 500 kgs of products which they used to make earlier in a day. "We requested our labourers not to leave, but they did not listen and fled by paying double the amount to a truck driver," he claimed.
Khurshid Ansari, who has a bakery at Mumbra in neighbouring Thane district, said seven to eight bakeries have closed in the area in a week's time since labourers started leaving for their native places in Uttar Pradesh. "Earlier, there were nearly 35 workers in my bakery, but now it is closed," he said.
Businessman Haroon Siddique said earlier he used to supply yeast ((a leavening agent used in baking) to about 70 bakeries in Mumbai. "But, in the last one week, 61 bakeries have stopped production and the units closed after labourers left the city," he said. Mushtaq Khan, who runs 'Bakerz Fresh' outlet in suburban Goregaon, told PTI over phone that they are unable to meet customers' demands as the production has gone down due to
shortage of labourers.
"Many labourers left without informing us or taking their salary. If we do not get labourers in the coming days, consumers may find it difficult to get bakery products," he said.