To fight the widespread coronavirus, Askari Cement Limited has placed strict rules to work in these times. The Health, Safety and Environment Department (HSE) at the company has devised a multi-pronged plan to handle the crisis. This covers the aspect of prevention of contracting and spreading the virus, and both through, maintaining sanitary conditions, spreading awareness, practicing maximum social distancing and self-quarantine.
About Askari Cement
Askari Cement Limited is one of the leading cement manufacturing companies in Pakistan. It originated 99 years ago – in 1921 – under the name of Associate Cement Company. Since then, it has progressed very effectively and gained the trust of millions of people around the globe. The company aims to respond to the World’s demands for housing and infrastructure.
These plants have been designed by the world’s best global engineering companies like, FL Smidth of Denmark, M/s Holder Bank Consultants of Switzerland, M/s Tianjin Cement Design & Research Institute, China and M/s China Building Material Industrial Corporation (CBMC).
Askari’s efforts to fight Coronavirus
Firstly, the employees have to go through a temperature screening process on entering the office buildings. Moreover, they have to wear masks at all times and frequently use sanitizers as issued by the corporation.
Special awareness lectures were also conducted for the staff, by the admin, to ensure company-wide prevention. To maintain said awareness, Askari Cement officials, from their Health, Safety and Environment Department (HSE), have stuck pamphlets with instructions about COVID-19 prevention and safety, throughout the offices, plants and residential areas.
Office hours for the whole staff have been restricted from 10 am to 3 pm, until otherwise directed by the government for a complete shutdown. To further promote social distancing among the employees and others, communication with customers and clients has been strictly limited via telephone only.
The cement industry, already facing the brunt of national economic crunch, is not aloof to be lashed equally bad by COVID-19 spillovers
While talking to our research analyst, Colonel Mian Mujtaba Kamal, Manager of Marketing and Sales support at Askari Cement Limited shared, “The cement industry, already facing the brunt of national economic crunch, is not aloof to be lashed equally bad by COVID-19 spillovers. Our country has cautiously moved by hours, days and weeks since the first case was reported on 26th February. However, with every day passing, the seriousness of the pandemic is taking its toll on the already crumbling cement industry”.
He further told us that the company is taking strict measures to quarantine their offices and promote social distancing in families connected to the company. “Entry to residential colonies has been totally prohibited for relatives and guests. In fact, no one is allowed to enter from outside to residential colonies in both plants i.e. Askari Cement Nizampur, District Nowshera, KPK and Askari Cement, Wah”.
To protect their employees, market visits by Marketing officers and staff have been halted. Moreover, all other activities have been curtailed by 50% until orders of complete shutdown are received, like manpower attending offices and operation shifts at plants.
Special prayers were conducted in the Head Office mosque to promote a sense of unity and instill hope among the workers. However, many employees were also asked to work from home, for example, the Peshawar Sales office started operations from home on cellphone/laptops.
While talking about the damages, Mian Mujtaba further said, “Non-availability of transport and cutting down the activities by half, have already consumed the already scarce cash flow. A day missed in sales is a day missed which has caused colossal amount of losses this week. Since cement retail shops have been closed by the government across the country, this caused a ripple effect on the entire construction industry involving further cuts on all other related activities”.
He believes that this is just the beginning and the government is already sensitive enough to formulate a strategy to deal with the losses. “But we all know that Pakistan is not only weak economically but also we, as a nation, have to fight monsters like illiteracy and misguided religious beliefs”.
“Our general public is casual; perhaps, their irresponsible response towards this very fatal pandemic will multiply the damage manifolds if government writ fails to implement preventive actions. We can only pray and strengthen our selves by strict self-disciplined quarantine and social distancing”.