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Incab workers issue vote boycott threat in Jamshedpur

There are 950 employees on the company roll and none of them have received their salaries in over 19 years

By Pinaki Majumdar in Jamshedpur
  • Published 16.04.19, 1:01 AM
  • Updated 16.04.19, 1:01 AM
  • 2 mins read
Incab Industries in Jamshedpur. Telegraph picture

Employees of sick cable-maker Incab Industries want to boycott the coming Lok Sabha polls as they feel nothing had been done for them for the past 19 years since the company was referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

Currently, there are around 950 employees on company rolls. None has received any salary since 19 years.

This time, Jamshedpur Parliamentary seat is witnessing a direct fight between BJP’s sitting MP Bidyut Baran Mahto and Opposition alliance candidate and JMM sitting Seraikela MLA Champai Soren. But an employee of Old Cable Town said, “Governments come and go but our plight stays the same. What is the use of giving votes when no one comes to look into our sufferings?” Another said, “Political candidates come to us only during polls to seek our support but forget about the poll promises after winning. We have decided to stay away from polls.”

Aloke Sen, assistant secretary of Incab Industries Association, a Calcutta-based labour union, told this reporter over phone from Calcutta, “We are trying to co-ordinate with local union representatives to ensure a poll boycott.” Sen said he would come down to Jamshedpur later this month and organise a meeting with workers in this regard. “The condition of Incab workers is very pathetic. They are deprived of salaries for last 19 years ever since the company was referred to the BIFR,” Sen said.

As matters stand now, Tata Steel is interested in taking over the company but litigations are hindering the process. The next hearing on Incab’s revival is slated at Calcutta High Court on April 26.

“We are insisting the steel major expedite the revival as early as possible,” said Ram Binod Singh, general secretary of Indian Cable Workers’ Union.

Once a major cable producer owned by Kashinath Tapuriah, the brother-in-law of M.P. Birla, Incab employed around 2,000 people in its heyday. In the mid-1990s, Malaysian promoter Leader Universal Holdings Berhad took over, but the company started suffering losses and slid deeper in the red. It was referred to BIFR in 1999, a year before Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar. The Jamshedpur plant closed operations in 2000.

BIFR and the appellate authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAIFR), which had already given verdicts in favour of Tata Steel in the past, were dissolved on December 1, 2016, paving the way for National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), a quasi-judicial body that helps in the revival of sick industries. Delhi High Court in a verdict in 2016 had ruled Tata Steel was the best bidder and capable of running Incab. Currently, the case pending at Calcutta High Court related to Incab’s debts.