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Victoria Jute Mill to reopen

TROUBLED WATERS

Calcutta, June 28: The management of Chandernagore’s Victoria Jute Mill has decided to reopen the factory tomorrow.

The owners, however, are apprehensive about their decision in the wake of the violence at the Northbrook Jute factory in Hooghly.

After a two-hour meeting this afternoon, convened by parliamentary secretary (labour) Tapan Dasgupta, mill president R.K. Singh “reluctantly” agreed to reopen the factory, which has been shut since June 17 following alleged vandalism by the labourers on the premises.

“I was made to give in to the demand of reopening the factory, keeping in mind the future of 5,000 employees. But the issue of militant trade unionism remained unaddressed,” Singh said.

Sources in the government also echoed the management’s fears.

“You make the managements reopen mills, but you don’t try to address the basic problems plaguing the industry. The existence of multiple unions is a big problem. The state government has also not done enough to ensure mandatory packaging of foodgrains, rice and potato in jute bags,” said a Nabanna source.

According to the source, the jute industry faces structural problems and has not seen any fresh investment. The Chandernagore mill, along with other units, has been tense after Northbrook’s chief executive H.K. Maheshwari was murdered by mill workers on June 15.

Ten employees of Victoria Jute Mill in Chandernagore were suspended after they allegedly vandalised equipment on the premises. The workers alleged that a colleague on night duty had fallen ill but was asked to continue working.

 
 
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