Reopening of JK Cotton mill renews aspirations of former employees

The 20-year wait of its workers came to an end on Monday afternoon,with the gates of Juggilal Kamplapat Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mill finally opening.

Written by Kautilya Singh | Kanpur | Published:January 20, 2009 2:03 am

The 20-year wait of its workers came to an end on Monday afternoon,with the gates of Juggilal Kamplapat Cotton Spinning and Weaving Mill (JKCSWM) finally opening. With the world reeling under the ongoing economic meltdown,the opening of the mill indeed boosted the industrial scenario of Kanpur.

Redefining history,Kanpur,which has earned the dubious distinction of being a dying industrial city,witnessed the revival of two major units in a short span of three months. Earlier,the city had witnessed the reopening of JK Jute Mill on October 20,2008.

For Security Officer Rana Pratap Singh of the mill,this moment will be etched in his memory forever. Two decades later,the JKCSWM management,in a surprise move on January 19,announced that Singh would open the doors of the unit,which he had locked on May 15,1989.

Unable to control his emotions,Singh told The Indian Express,“This is the most important day of my life,and by allowing me to open the lock of the unit,the management has given me the best gift of my career.”

As the unit gates opened,thousands of former employees who had gathered outside the mill started celebrating by distributing sweets and bursting crackers. The celebrations continued for more than an hour.

Majority of the 4,200 former employees,who had lost their job due to the lockout,had started working as daily labourers in the Panki Industrial area and Transport Nagar.

“The reopening of the unit has given the former employees a golden opportunity to restore a standard living with a respectable job in hand,” said Buddh Prasad,a former employee.

Since 6 am,55-year-old Puttan Lal along with his son Atul arrived at the mill gate. Lal was in-charge of the delivery and dispatch of products in JKCSWM. But after the closure of the unit,he started working as a labourer.

“Life has been miserable after 1989,and now I am praying that my son gets the job in my place,” he said. Lal claimed that the reopening of the unit is like a dream come true for the former employees and their family members.

According to Dhaniram Verma,president of JKCSWM Mazdoor Union,a large part of the credit for the reopening goes to the employees. “We have been following the issue for many years now. Finally,we have met with the desired result,” he said.

The mill management,meanwhile,has announced a number of packages and plans for the former employees. “Keeping in mind the age factor of several of our formeremployees,we have prepared a special Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) packages,” said P K Sharaf,Director,JKCSWM.

The management has also made payment plans for the former employees who have crossed the retirement age in the last 20 years. They have also announced an initial payment of Rs 5,000 to each of the former employees,who were fit to be recruited.

“Distribution of registration forms for the employees has already started. Soon,it will be clear that how many former employees are interested and fit to work with us again,” added Sharaf.

The director,however,maintained that it might take more than a month for the production to start.

“Keeping in mind the security and safety of the employees,we will check each aspect before starting with the production,” he said. The management is yet to decide the budget for starting up the unit.

“First we want to see that how things shape up in the next one month,after which we will be in a situation to decide the budget required to start the production in the unit,” he added.

According to Sanjay Dubey,Administrator of JKCSWM,the employees will be recruited as per the requirement of the unit. “In the initial phase,which will involve cleanliness and maintenance,a minimal staff will be recruited,and the number will be increased when we start the trial run of production,” he added.

Priority will be given to the former employees and if required fresh recruitments will also be conducted,said Dubey.

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