Over 10,000 industrial units in Pune district have been asked to remain shut on the polling day. The district collectorate and the Industrial Safety and Health department have directed the managements of various factories to declare a “paid holiday” on October 13 in order to enable their workers and staffers to vote. The collectorate has issued a warning that industrial units that do not adhere to the directives will face criminal proceedings.
Both the collectorate and the Industrial Safety and Health department have issued the orders under Section 135 (B) of the Representation of People Act,1951. District collectorate Chandrakant Dalvi said the Election Commission has made it mandatory for industrial units to declare a full day holiday on October 13. “This will enable the employees desiring of casting their vote to exercise their right as part of the democratic process. Anybody wanting to vote should not be prevented from voting,” he said.
“If any worker or workers of any industrial unit complains to us that his company has not given them a paid holiday,we will have no option but to lodge criminal complaints against the errant industrial units,” the collector said,adding that his staffers would also be keeping watch on industrial units ignoring the directives. Dalvi said during Lok Sabha election,it was found that many industrial units had remained open.
Additional director B D Chavan of Industrial Safety and Health,Pune,said it had been observed that many industrial units,factories,offices,departmental stores and the like either provide half-day holidays or grant two hour leave for voting purpose. “But this time Election Commission has insisted that there should be full day paid holiday. Accordingly,we have issued directives to factories coming under us to remain shut on the polling day,” he said.
Chavan said his office will take action against industrial units flouting the norm. “If any employer contravenes the provision of the Act,he shall be punishable with a fine of Rs 500 for every worker who fails to cast his vote,” he said,adding that employees should bring the anomaly to their notice.
The industries however have opposed a full-day holiday. Suresh Mehtre,president of the Small Scale Industries said,”There are over 7,000 industrial units in Pimpri,Chinchwad,Bhosari,Talawde and Chikhli areas. If these units remain closed for entire day,then there will be production losses running into crores.”
Sopan Bhor,chairman and managing director of Bhor Rubber Factory,said citizens don’t need entire day to cast their votes. “During times of recession,shutting industrial units through the day is unhealthy. From the point of workers,a paid holiday is welcome. But closure means huge losses for the industry.”
Workers desirous of lodging complaints should contact the control rooms at the collectorate or call at 020155212. And the Industrial Safety and Health number is 24266918.