The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letter to CM blaming Citu for closure

Calcutta, July 13: No matter how hard Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government tries to change it, the Citu will not stop impeding efforts to industrialise Bengal.

That is what an ISO 9002 company based in Dankuni, Hooghly, conveyed last week to the chief minister after violent supporters of the CPM’s labour arm forced the management to close down the unit in May.

The owner of Ronix Polymer has written to Bhattacharjee seeking his intervention in reopening the factory. Since May 25, mobs of Citu activists have been blocking the main entry points to the plant, which manufactures and exports PVC pipes, water tanks and moulded accessories.

In his letter, R.K. Saraogi said the trade unionists had beaten up the driver of a senior official of the company on the plant premises. The Citu supporters had also called a strike at the factory on May 25 and prevented willing workers from attending duty, the letter alleged.

“Citu activists have threatened the workers residing in the staff quarters within the factory and asked them to vacate the premises immediately so that work comes to a halt. These activists are also organising demonstrations in the factory premises and not allowing the willing workers to attend their duties,” the owner wrote to the chief minister.

He also claimed that the company had failed to deliver finished products to the West Bengal Agro Industries Corporation and the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited because of the “violent” trade union movement in the factory.

Complaints on police inaction were also part of the letter.

On July 6, a director of the company had been to Dankuni. But he was confined on the premises till 9 pm. His driver was beaten up and the car damaged. The director had made several calls to the Dankuni police station requesting for a force that could rescue him. None arrived.

He then called an additional superintendent of police, who helped him return home, Saraogi wrote to Bhattacharjee.

Citu’s Hooghly secretary Dilip Chatterjee said the union was aware of the complaint lodged with the chief minister. “The trouble started in May when the owner of the factory refused to take back a worker who was absent for some time because of illness. He had produced a certificate from a doctor who belonged to the panel of the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) but the owner refused to accept it. We opposed the stand because ESI is a government-sponsored medical scheme for employees. The local Citu unit had organised an agitation against the authority’s refusal to accept the ESI certificate,” Chatterjee said.

The union leader added that the owner had started recruiting outsiders to run the factory when they called the strike. “The labour department is well aware of the situation at the factory,” said Chatterjee.

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