Over 100 employees, including engineers, of the ailing Ranchi-based PSU Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) left for Delhi with cut-out replicas of Chandrayaan-3 to stage a demonstration on September 21 to protest against non-disbursal of salaries for 18 months.
“We left for Delhi by different trains and will converge on Jantar Mantar road in Delhi on September 21 for a demonstration. We are also carrying cut-out replicas of Chandrayaan-3 to show to the masses and remind the Centre about our contribution to the recent lunar exploration mission by the Isro. We have not been paid our salaries for 18 months,” said HEC Majdoor Union president Bhawan Singh who boarded the train from Ranchi on Tuesday.
HEC workers and engineers claimed that they had constructed several parts of the second launching pad of the Isro which was used for Chandrayaan-3. Engineers of HEC had constructed 400/60 EOT (electric overhead travelling) crane, 200/30T EOT crane, 10 Ton hammerhead tower crane, FCVRP (folding cum vertical repositionable platform), horizontal sliding door and mobile launching pedestal of the Isro.
Singh also informed that several MPs of different parties had expressed solidarity with their cause and would attend the dharna on Jantar Mantar road.
“Some of our members have already reached Delhi and have been reaching out to MPs and other leaders so that they attend our demonstration. We have no hope from the BJP and AJSU MPs from Jharkhand as they do not have the guts to raise their voices before the central government. We have also sought an appointment with the Union heavy industries minister,” said Singh.
Out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, 11 are represented by the BJP and one by its ally AJSU. The Congress and the JMM have one Lok Sabha member each from the state.
Singh also said a CPM MP from Kerala, Elamaram Kareem, had agreed to be present at the demonstration for the entire day.
“The CPM MP had earlier this month written to the Union heavy industries minister Mahendra Nath Pandey, highlighting the plight of 2,800 employees who are on the brink of starvation because of non-payment of salaries.... We expect MPs from other parties, too, to attend the dharna” said Singh.
Leaders of the INDIA bloc in Jharkhand had staged an agitation last week at the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi and submitted a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the governor requesting modernisation and revival of HEC and clearing pending salaries of its employees and officials.
The letter to the Prime Minister reminded Modi of the contribution of HEC to Chandrayaan-3 and to the Aditya L1 solar project of the Isro and said HEC had built the launchpad for the Aditya project, too.
“HEC is in a dying state today despite receiving a lot of orders as no modernisation has taken place. Due to the non-availability of working capital owing to the closure of the bank guarantee, HEC is unable to fulfil orders. The salaries of HEC personnel are also unpaid for the last 18 months,” the letter states.