Workers demand re-start of South India Cement factory

Workers demand re-start of South India Cement factory
Published: 14 May 2007

Members of South India Cement Factory Workers’ Union staged a dharna near the deputy commissioner’s office in the City on Saturday.

Members of South India Cement Factory Workers’ Union staged a dharna near the deputy commissioner’s office in the City on Saturday, demanding the re-start of the factory which has been closed since March 2003.

The dharna was led by union President Malleshi Sajjan, Shivarudhra Bhini, Manjoor Ahmed, Vithoba, Sharanabasappa, Chandra Naidu, Gurunath, Anand Sadrak, Ramesh Swamy, and others. They also submitted a memorandum  to the Gulbarga Deputy Labour Commissioner.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sajjan stated that the factory, situated at Malkhed in Sedam taluk, was started by a Hyderabad-based businessman in 1988. However, he said, the factory owner in 1993 filed a case before the Delhi-based Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) urging it to declare the factory as a sick unit.

Consequently, the BIFR on December 21, 1993, declared the factory as sick, and came forward to provide a rehabilitation package for the factory. Under this package, the factory should provide a sum of Rs 16.10 crore for the rehabilitation as 25 per cent of its profit, while the remaining would be provided by BIFR.

However, Mr Sajjan pointed out that even though the factory owner was provided three chances for the same, still the owner did not come forward to provide the factory’s share of 25 per cent of amount for its rehabilitation.

Consequently, the BIFR on May 4, 2006, directed the Karnataka High Court for liquidation of the factory. But, the factory owner approached the Appellant Authority of BIFR recently, and got a stay against the liquidation order of the BIFR.

Considering this, as the owner was using delaying tactics for re-starting the factory, he said, on the virtue of being the factory workers’ union president, he had filed affidavits both to the BIFR and Appellate Authority urging it to make the union too a party to the case. “This was specifically to protect the interest of the workers,” he added.

Mr Sajjan said, he had also prayed the BIFR to give another five months time to the factory owner, so that he could atleast sell the factory to others. Through this, the factory would not be closed, and the workers would be earning a livelihood, he added.

He stated that he had also urged the Gulbarga Deputy Labour Commissioner to issue a recovery certificate, so that the salary arrears of the workers could be recovered from the factory management. As the nearly 125 workers who were on factory rolls at present are leading life without the salaries, he appealed that an advance on their respective provident fund should be provided to them so that it would be helpful to them.