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Citu cries foul on guard jobs

Durgapur, March 10: The Citu has alleged that “unskilled labourers” from a Trinamul supporter’s private agency were appointed as guards at Durgapur Projects Ltd, when only ex-servicemen should be recruited for the job.

The Citu has cited a letter from the office of the accountant-general (economic and revenue sector audit) that had in January said the appointments were “not at all justified”.

The DPL had hired guards from Clifford Facility Services Private Ltd and Awadh Security Services Private Ltd for the plant and its township area. These guards were trained ex-servicemen.

But the management also engaged Sumana Enterprise for 42 days, the letter to the DPL’s adviser and deputy general manager said. The guards hired by DPL from Sumana Enterprise were unskilled labourers, which was mentioned in the letter.

“The management engaged M/s Sumana Enterprise as a stop gap arrangement for 42 days… to overcome the problem of engagement of hired security personnel,” the letter said. “The engagement of unskilled casual labour as security personnel was not at all justified,” the letter, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, said.

A Citu leader alleged that Sumana Enterprise was owned by the wife of Shibesh Pandit, said to be close to Debdas Majumdar, the general secretary of the INTTUC-led union at DPL.

A senior power department official in Calcutta confirmed that only ex-servicemen can be employed as security guards in state-owned power plants.

Mriganka Majumdar, the managing director of DPL, refused comment, saying it was an “internal matter”. Calls to power minister Manish Gupta went unanswered.

According to Citu leaders in DPL, altogether 60 unskilled labourers were engaged as guards by the power utility and coke plant through Sumana Enterprise in September last year. The leaders pointed out that the decision violated an order issued by the management in 1995 that said only ex-servicemen could be employed for the posts.

Asked about the allegation, Majumdar said: “The allegations by Citu are baseless. It was Citu that indulged in such favouritism at DPL during Left rule. Everything is done fairly now,” he said.

Sources said the allegations by the CPM’s labour wing were prompted by the sacking of 90 of its supporters as guards in 2011.

Pankaj Roy Sarkar, the Citu’s convener in Durgapur, said: “The DPL management had earlier sacked 90 guards who were Citu supporters. This happened after Trinamul came to power in 2011. The management had said that the 90 were not ex-servicemen. But they had in September engaged unskilled labourers as guards from an agency whose owner is a Trinamul supporter. The DPL’s board resolution says nobody other than an ex-serviceman could be engaged as a guard.”

The letter from the accountant-general’s office also questioned the payment of salaries to the 60 guards. “The company made the payment of unskilled casual labourers from budget code 94610009 (engagement of gunman from private security agencies), although they were not gunmen. The reason for diversion of fund may please be stated to audit.” DPL sources said the plant has slots for 424 guards.