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Sick jute mill closure scare

Production at RBHM Jute Mills, which indirectly employs 50,000 people, has dipped drastically in the past two months.

Workers’ “dissatisfaction” is cited as prime reason. This has led to the factory’s closure, following which mills’ chief executive officer S.K. Biswas resigned on May 22. D.K. Singh, who took charge after Biswas resigned, too, left the company on May 27 without giving any notice to his subordinate staff.

The factory is now dependent only on its supervisors. As a result, about 1,000 workers have lost confidence. This is taking a toll on efficiency.

Prior to April, the factory used to produce about 16-17MT of jute products but production has now dipped to 10MT. Sources said the company was sailing on a no-profit-no-loss mode till its production was in the range of 16-17MT. It is now incurring huge losses. Labour inspector Navin Singh said: “At present, there is no technical head at the company after Biswas resigned. Even D.K. Singh has left. We have no information whether a senior officer would be appointed because all decisions are being taken at the Calcutta corporate office.”

Mohammad Alam Khan, a worker at the mill, said: “A month ago, a worker approached Biswas for Rs 500 for his medical treatment. The latter refused saying he did not have a money plant. This irked workers, who humiliated him, compelling him to resign.”

He added that Biswas was not a labour-friendly officer.

Khan said: “Over 50,000 people are indirectly associated with the mill. It was shut down in 1999 but was revived in 2010. We used to get wage hikes every year. But we did not gey any hike this year so there was discontent among workers.”