Minister slams Dunlop India’s Sahaganj operation
The labour minister of India’s West Bengal state has asked Ruia Group chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia to clarify his intentions regarding Dunlop India, and its Sahaganj plant in particular, to the state government. Labour minister Purnendu Bose visited the Sahaganj facility on July 17 – and articles published by India’s media indicate he was not impressed by what he found.
The Times of India reports Bose as stating after his visit that “for more than ten months, the boiler of the factory remains non-functional. Workers are sitting idle. The bricks of the plant quarters are being stolen away, the machineries are being smuggled out. We must know the real intention of the current owner of the factory…If we find that they (the present management) are able to run the factory, there is no problem, if they are not, we have to think of an alternative.”
Dunlop India’s factory in Sahaganj, near Kolkata, is said to have not produced any tyres since late last year. The Hindu newspaper states that upon visiting the site, Bose noted several large structures, including a primary school, a hospital and some plant machinery, had been demolished. “We do not support this action,” he commented. Bose and his entourage also spoke with Sahaganj plant workers and noted numerous grievances, including a failure to remunerate retirees and workers that entered into an early retirement scheme.
“We want to meet Mr. Ruia as only he can tell us what his intentions are about reviving the Sahaganj unit,” Bose told The Hindu correspondent Indrani Dutta. “I have briefed the industry minister and Mr. Ruia can meet him also. But they (Dunlop India) only seem to be interested in getting concessions and reliefs.”
A Dunlop India spokesman told The Hindu that the company was not in a position to make any fresh investments unless theft, currently an issue at the site, was stopped. He added that Ruia was willing to meet the government at any mutually convenient time and venue.