Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dunlop production comes to a halt

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, July 2: Production at the Sahagunj unit of Dunlop India Limited, which was reopened with much fanfare last year, has stopped, due to a shortage of working capital, admitted the state commerce and industry minister, Mr Nirupam Sen.
The minister has also called for a meeting with the Ruia group, the present management after both Citu and Intuc leaders met him and alleged that the management was not honouring the agreement made with the workers.
The general secretary of state Citu, Mr Kali Ghosh today went a step ahead and said: “Mr Pawan Ruia has lost all his credibility. We had our doubts, whether Mr Ruia would genuinely try to run the sick unit but we did not have much say as the ownership had passed on from the Chhabrias to the Ruias. But now they have not brought in capital or raw material to run the unit and production has come to a halt. The workers are also yet to get their dues.”
Later, Mr Sen said: “Production has stopped at Dunlop’s Sahagunj unit due to a shortage of working capital. I have called a meeting with the management.”
While the revival package of the erstwhile sick unit is still with the BIFR, the Sahagunj unit was reopened on 31 October, last year after being closed for seven years, in the presence of the chief minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union minister for heavy industry, Mr Santosh Mohan Dev. Commercial production had began on 14 January this year.
A management representative told reporters at the Writers’ Buildings today that Provident Fund and gratuity dues of the workers of Dunlop is yet to be cleared since the tyre major is struggling with scarcity of working capital. As the firm continues to be under the BIFR, the nationalised banks are not advancing loans to it, he added.
The management set a daily production target of 50 tons this week as new machines have been installed. But the management has already employed 929 workers and 68 management staff though the targeted production capacity is yet to be reached, it was learnt.
“We enjoy the best of industrial relations at Dunlop,” Mr Pawan Ruia, company chairman, stated in a message from abroad. He will meet Mr Nirupam Sen, state industries minister at the Writers’ Buildings on his return.
But Citu leaders say that according to the agreement signed in April last year, daily output in Sahagunj should have increased from 30 tons to 50 tons by December 2006 and touch 70 tons in February this year.
Mr Dilip Chatterjee, secretary of the Citu Hooghly district committee alleged that the management has also started felling down trees in the factory site and selling those to private parties and have already withdrawn around Rs 1 crore from the fund of the school that it runs in Sahagunj and spent the money elsewhere.