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Fight for company quarters

- Applications for accommodation pile up amid allegations of subletting houses

Durgapur, Feb. 4: Nearly 200 workers of Durgapur Projects Limited (DPL) who had applied for company quarters two years ago are yet to get them as other employees who already own private accommodation have allegedly got the quarters allotted in their names and have sublet them.

DPL has 2,485 quarters in Durgapur for its 4,000 employees.

In a survey conducted by the company in 2010, it was found that a large section of the employees who already have their own houses in the steel town and have sublet them.

A number of employees were suspended.

But the practice continued because of lack of inspections, sources in DPL said.

Most of the quarters are sublet either to retired employees of DPL or other people not associated with the company, the workers who are yet to get company accommodation have alleged.

The workers said they were being forced to live in rented houses for Rs 5,000-8,000 a month.

DPL authorities said they were not aware of quarters being sublet, adding that the allegations would be probed.

According to a senior DPL official, a person from outside Durgapur working with the company for more than a year was eligible for a quarter.

DPL pays 20 per cent of basic salary as house rent allowance to employees who do not get or take company quarters and 7.5 per cent of basic pay to those who have been allotted quarters.

“I joined the electrical department of the company in 2011 and applied for a quarter a year later. But I am yet to get one. I am from Suri in Birbhum and have been forced to stay in a rented flat in Durgapur. My basic pay is Rs 14,000 and I get an HRA of Rs 2,800. But I pay a monthly rent of Rs 6,000. People like us who need company accommodation are not getting one and those who already have houses in the town are subletting their quarters,” said a DPL employee who declined to be identified.

An employee found subletting a quarter can either be fined by the company or even sacked.

But sources said inspections by the company were rare.

“Even if company officials come once in a blue moon for inspection, we are told to introduce ourselves as relatives of the DPL employee who has the quarter in his name,” said a businessman living in a DPL quarter.

Deputy general manager (personnel and administration) of DPL Tito Deb said: “We have no knowledge of anyone getting quarters by forging documents and subletting them. If we get any specific complaint, we will look into it.”