The beautification project site. Picture by Samir Mondal
Kharagpur, Aug. 29: Construction of a girls’ hostel at IIT Kharagpur is stuck for the past fortnight as two Trinamul unions have been demanding that construction workers owing allegiance to each be employed.
Work on a beautification project on the campus that includes conversion of a water body into a lake started today after being stalled for eight days over similar problems.
Dutta Group and Company (DGC), which is turning a school building into the hostel for IIT students, said it had employed two workers from the unrecognised INTTUC union led by Kharagpur municipality councillor Jawaharlal Pal. But the official INTTUC faction led by Pal’s civic colleague Apurba Ghosh demanded workers owing allegiance to his unit be employed too.
DGC owner Priyabrata Dutta said the hostel, to come up at a cost of Rs 1.8 crore, would accommodate 110 to 125 students.
“I had employed eight workers — two each from unions affiliated to Intuc, INTTUC, Citu and Aituc. I had also engaged two of my own skilled workers,” Dutta said.
He alleged that on August 14, some people owing allegiance to the Ghosh-headed union arrived at the site and forced him to stop work. “They said they were the ‘real’ INTTUC union and demanded two workers affiliated to the unit be employed,” Dutta said.
“I could have easily taken two additional workers in the initial stage. But when work will begin in full swing, I will require at least 200 workers a day. To entertain such demands is to invite heavy financial losses. So I stopped my work,” Dutta said.
He said he was doubtful about meeting the February 2014 deadline.
Dinesh Santra, the site supervisor of Santra Group of Construction (SGC) that is implementing the beautification project, said the company had faced similar demands from the two INTTUC factions. According to Santra, some people owing allegiance to Ghosh stopped work on August 20.
IIT registrar Tapan Ghosal expressed “serious concern” over the way work on a “time-bound project” had been stopped. “I doubt if the project (hostel) can be completed on time,” Ghosal said.
According to Ghosal, there were only three hostels on the campus for the 200 girl students. Many have to stay in rented houses outside the campus.
Ghosh said he was the vice-president of the INTTUC-affiliated Nirman Sramik Union and engaging workers was his “domain.”
The inspector-in-charge of Kharagpur (town) police station, Arunabha Das, said: “We held meeting with all unions and work has started on the beautification project.”
District Trinamul chief Dinen Roy said: “We will not tolerate factional squabbles.”