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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Ailing tea gardens in North Bengal: Govt to take over Jessop, Dunlop factories

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal, Tea Gardens, North Bengal, Dunlop, Tea workers plight, West Bengal government File photo West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

The West Bengal government Friday announced to take over the Pawan Ruia Group-owned Jessop and Dunlop India Ltd, both closed factories. The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and a bill in this regard will be placed in the Assembly on Saturday —- when the current House will assemble for the last time before state goes to polls.

“We have decided to take over the Jessop and Dunlop, both closed units. The necessary bill for the take over will be brought in the House on Saturday,” Mamata told the Assembly on the penultimate day of the ongoing Budget Session. To justify her government’s move, Mamata referred to the Centre’s decision to take over some sick and closed tea gardens of the Duncans Group in North Bengal.

Later talking to the reporters cabinet minister and Trinamool Congress spokesperson Partha Chatterjee said Mamata and other ministers will urge Speaker Biman Banerjee to list the issue in business advisory committee’s agenda for Saturday so that the bill is cleared by the House. “We hope to discuss the matter tomorrow itself in the Assembly. It is a historic step,” he said.

When asked, Speaker Biman Banerjee said that a bill to take over the two closed factories will be brought in the House on Saturday.

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With the decision coming just ahead of the Assembly polls, which are likely to be held in April-May, the Opposition CPM questioned its timing. CPM leader Surya Kanta Mishra said the government has suddenly woken up at the last moment to play a fraud on the people. “People doubt her announcements. What she says is not correct. She is fooling the people,” said Mishra.

A spokesman for the Ruia Group sounded cautious while reacting to the development, saying, “We are watching the developments. That’s all we can say at the moment.”

The Ruia Group had taken over the Dunlop India in 2006 and ran it for about two years before closing its Hooghly factory in 2008 and the Chennai plant after some more time.

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Contacted, Tapan Dasgupta, the TMC MLA from the area, said when the Ruias took over the Dunlop factory, it had about 2,200 employees. The company had launched a VRS scheme and many workers opted for that. At present, he said, Dunlop has about 400 workers and a financial liability of about Rs 32 crore while Jessop has about 645 workers and a financial liability of Rs 16 crore.

“There will be celebrations in Dunlop’s Sahaganj factory and at Jessop’s Dum Dum factory on Saturday,” Dasgupta said.

First published on: 27-02-2016 at 01:29:23 am
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