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No-help charge on jute mill

Calcutta, June 20: A team of state and central government officials today allegedly did not get any co-operation from the management of Hooghly’s Northbrook jute mill during a visit to collect information on the status of the factory whose president was beaten to death on Sunday.

“The Union textile ministry had sought a report on the company. That’s why a team of officers visited Northbrook today. But they could not gather any information as the company management did not co-operate with them,” a senior state government official said.

Mill workers have accused Northbrook of defaulting on statutory payments under the provident fund and ESI schemes and fudging production figures.

“The officials spent more than four hours at the mill but got no details,” an official said.

“According to the provisions of the Jute and Jute Textile Control Order, 2000, the jute commissioner can punish mill owners (for non-cooperation) under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, which involves imprisonment and fine,” he added.

Sources in the mill said the team left the campus after some workers armed with bamboo sticks began agitating around the office of the manager.

Prakash Chorariya, the Northbrook owner, contested the allegation of non-cooperation. “It is not true that there was no co-operation from the management. If members from the office of the jute commissioner want to visit the mill, they need to get in touch with the CID. There seems to be a lack of co-ordination between the state and the Centre.”