The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Raid on steel firm
- JMM workers attack, again

Ranchi, Nov. 5: A group of JMM workers, allegedly armed with firearms, stormed the office of Calcutta-based Kohinoor Steel’s office in Adityapur, around 4pm today.

The move has further antagonised the business community.

A JMM group, led by senior leader Rudra Pratap Mahto, demanded immediate release of dues to a private firm, R.K. & Company, engaged by the company on contract to maintain the induction furnaces and supply of contract workers.

Kohinoor Steel was supposed to pay the firm Rs 1.7 lakh. But the company authorities deducted Rs 1.5 lakh claiming two of its furnaces were damaged due to negligence of the contract firm. Each furnace costs about Rs 5 crores.

Eyewitnesses said that 25 Kohinoor Steel functionaries were taken aback when 100 JMM workers barged into the company’s office and demanded immediate release of money to the contractor.

They heckled the company officials and brandished firearms.

“Surely there is a nexus between the contractor and the JMM workers. Else, how can political party leaders interfere in internal matters of a company'” asked company owner Vijay Bothra.

Bothra claimed that the JMM leaders demanded Rs 13 lakh as outstanding dues that the company must pay to the contractor.

“I have not seen such lawlessness. What is more agonising is that the local police, who arrived later, insisted that we pay the amount and settle the issue. We are in the process of lodging an FIR against these JMM workers,” Bothra added.

On the other hand, JMM leader Rudra Pratap Mahto argued that the contract labourers attached to that contract firm had not got their payments for the past three months.

“So, we intervened to ensure that the labourers get their payments,” he added, but denied brandishing weapons and heckling the company officials.

The “growing corruption and lawlessness in the state” is apparently annoying the industry and business fraternity.

A couple of days ago, a bandh was observed in Jamshedpur following the killing of a shoe baron, Ashis Dey, the owner of Shree Leathers.

An Adityapur based industrialist, S K Agarwalla, took decision to wind up his unit as he is frustrated by corruption at different levels within the government.

The state’s businessmen and traders have already decided to boycott the forthcoming trade fair beginning from November 14, as the state government did not meet their demands.

“For an industrialist it is impossible as we cannot concentrate our efforts on activities, other than production. It seems that we have made a mistake by investing in this state,” Bothra added.

This is the second time that this company had to face the wrath of the JMM workers.

In July this year, a group of JMM cadre ransacked and manhandled some officials at its Chandil plant demanding compensation after a death of a contract worker inside the company.

Kohinoor Steel had signed an MoU with the state government for establishing a steel plant and captive power plant at an investment of over Rs 500 crores. The plant, situated in Chandil area, has started its initial production.

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