The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Citu on road to revamp

Calcutta, Nov. 19: The CPM’s labour arm, widely believed to be resisting the chief minister’s industrialisation efforts, appears headed for a change of approach as well as a revamp following pressure from both the government and the party leadership.

Citu officials today said an idea about the new measures would emerge after the three-day state conference of the trade union kicks off tomorrow against the backdrop of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s growing criticism and the sweeping changes in the labour segment.

Bhattacharjee’s latest criticism came during a visit last week to Naxalbari and Siliguri when he blasted Tarakeswar Lohar, a corrupt union leader responsible for the recent killings in a tea garden in Dalgaon. “He was a wicked man,” the chief minister, who was in north Bengal in connection with a Citu meet, said.

At a closed-door meeting in Siliguri, Bhattacharjee is also learnt to have warned Citu leaders against corrupt practices. “The image of our trade union as well as the party has been shattered in some parts of Bengal because of these corrupt leaders,” a Citu leader conceded.

Sources said several district functionaries, especially from South and North 24-Parganas and Burdwan, are likely to be expelled. The party has set up several commissions to examine corruption charges against these leaders. Some of these leaders now run several state public sector units. A number of former MLAs, who are trade union leaders, could be axed, too.

The three-day session will also try to adopt a policy on how to function as a trade union in the changed industrial scenario. Industry minister Nirupam Sen has been a vocal critic of the Citu’s approach to industrialisation.

“The Centre is closing down a number of its public sector undertakings. The state government, too, will have to close down a few of its own PSUs…. This changing scenario is posing a problem before us and we have to sort it out very carefully,” the draft prepared for the session said.

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