Leading exporters’ body, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), has written to the Maharashtra government asking it to allow private offices to open with 25% of the sanctioned strength during the night curfew and weekend lockdown so as to provide the necessary support to run factories and support the manufacturing sector.

It said export units had strict timelines to execute the orders while seeking inclusion of exports sector in the list of essential services. The federation said that manufacturing units were supported by their offices, which not only manage their inventories but also ensure timeline supply of raw material, filing of tax return, filing of e-way bills for transportation of goods and managing of outward supplies. “If such offices are not allowed to function, it would not be possible to keep manufacturing going,” FIEO said in a letter to Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, dated April 5, which ET has reviewed.

“We, therefore, request you to allow private offices to be opened with 25% of the sanctioned strength so that necessary support, to run the manufacturing, can be provided for seamless and smooth functioning of factories,” it said.

The letter comes in the wake of Maharashtra announcing a night curfew in the state from 8 pm to 7 am, imposing Section 144 that prohibits assembly of five or more people throughout the day and a lockdown from Friday to Sunday.

Industrial operations, construction activities and manufacturing have been allowed to continue by following health protocols. The apex body of Indian exporters has also raised the issue of availability of support services like custom house agents, freight forwarders and offices of shipping lines as they are crucial for the movement of transportation of goods, which is already covered in the list of exempted services.