The owners of Hind Motors are looking to China to roll out the iconic Ambassador cars once again from its Uttarpara plant that was closed on May 24.
The management of the company, which met the state government Thursday, said they were in talks with two to three car manufacturers in China to launch a joint venture.
The meeting between the C K Birla Group that owns Hind Motors and the state government could not thrash out a plan to reopen the Uttarpara plant. Company CEO Moloy Choudhury, emerging from the meeting, said: “We came here to apprise the state government of the situation we are in.’’
While Choudhury clearly said he cannot give a date for the Uttarpara plant’s reopening, he revealed the company was trying for a joint venture with a Chinese car manufacturer.
For its part, the government, during the meeting, could not extract a promise from the management for a one-off payment of Rs 7,000 to each of the 2,300 employees who have not been paid for six months now.
“We them asked them to make some advance payment to employees for instant relief ; they have agreed to do so on June 2. We have told them to come with a fresh plan regarding the company,’’ minister for labour Purnendu Bose said.
The company’s move to approach the BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) in February this year has irked the government. “They applied for BIFR without consulting us. This is not done,’’ Bose said.
The minister said he had asked the company not to move any machinery or equipment from the site.
Meanwhile, the employees’ union of Hind Motors said part payment of their salaries was unacceptable.
“The company owes around Rs 50,000 to each employee; they will have to pay at least half of that amount. We don’t know if the company is serious about reopening the factory,’’ Ajit Chakrabarty, general secretary, of the employees union of Hind Motors, which is affiliated with INTUC, told The Indian Express.
Production at Hind Motors had slipped to 150 cars a month — from 3,000 cars a month in the 70s and 80s. The company also sold off 314 acres of land out of 741 acres to a private company in 2006.