A meeting between the West Bengal government and the management of Shalimar Paints on Thursday, regarding a suspension of work notice issued at the company’s Howrah unit, remained largely ‘inconclusive’. Sources said state labour minister Maloy Ghatak, who met the company representatives, made certain proposals to reopen the factory. The next meeting between the government and the company will be held on July 23.
The company officials reportedly told the government that it could not resume operations after a fire in March 2014, because the fire department did not furnish NOCs. “The labour minister has made certain proposals so that the process of giving NOCs can be expedited. The next meeting has been scheduled for July 23,” said deputy commissioner Sumita Mukherjee.
Shalimar Paints suspended work at its Howrah unit on Wednesday, following a fire about four months back. According to the labour department sources, there are 138 permanent employees in the unit, while the company did not renew contracts of 16 temporary workers. The permanent workers have been offered jobs in company’s Nashik and Secundarabad units.
Significantly, at least three major industries of the state have announced closure or suspension of work in the past two months. Besides Shalimar Paints, Jessop and Co. and Hindustan Motors, the state also faced closures of six jute mills following the murder of H K Maheswari, CEO of Northbrook jute mill on June 15. Labour department sources claimed that the closures had hit as many as 30,000 workers.
The state government has held a number of meetings with Hindustan Motors, Jessop and Co. and authorities of the jute mills. Former labour minister Purnendu Bose said, “We held meetings with Hindustan Motors authorities and asked them to submit a revival package. They are yet to come up with it. The Jessop and Co. issue is now being handled by state finance minister. The closure of the two industries has hit nearly 2,700 workers. We also requested Hind Motors group to pay the workers their dues.”
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Bose added that they had succeeded in opening some of the jute mills that had downed shutters. “At present, four of the closed mills, including Northbrook, are operational,” he added.