Burdwan, Aug. 11: More than a year after Thakurpukur Cancer Hospital declared him medically unfit to resume normal duty, Eastern Coalfields Limited employee Subhas Majhi has sent an ultimatum to the coal ministry: Clear dues or I will commit suicide.
Majhi, 56, a pump operator, wrote a letter on July 26 to the Union coal minister, asking him to take “immediate steps” to declare him a “permanently disabled” worker and to settle his dues according to the norms of voluntary retirement.
The man suffering from cancer has set a deadline of 20 days for the minister to deliver or he has threatened to kill himself “in front of the ECL headoffice in Sanctoria”.
The fate of Majhi and about a dozen others has been left hanging as the apex medical board of the ECL has failed to convene a single meeting in the past year.
This delay in disposing of the cases of ill employees is even more glaring in the wake of a verdict last year.
In May 2002, ECL’s Kenda screening committee had recommended that Majhi and another cancer-stricken employee, Parbati Nath Chakraborty, be declared “permanently disabled” and discharged from their duties with legitimate compensation.
“With the Thakurpukur hospital declaring me disabled, there is no way the ECL will allow me to join duty. And with the administration delaying the formalities, I am faced with penury along with my two sons and wife,” Majhi said from his ECL quarters in the Kenda coalfields area.
Majhi’s cancer of the foot was first detected in 2000, when he was treated at the ECL’s central hospital at Kalra.
The doctors attending on him there declared that they had conducted tests to confirm that he had cancer. As there was a risk of the disease spreading, Majhi was referred to the Thakurpukur facility in Calcutta.
Chief managing director of ECL P.K. Sinha seemed in the dark about the developments but said he would look into the matter immediately.
“Such an urgent situation should not have been left unattended, and should be dealt with sympathetically. I will definitely look into why the case has been left pending for such a long time. All necessary steps will be taken,” Sinha said.