CITU calls 24-hr bandh on Apr 8 at HPL

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Haldia, Apr 1 (UNI) CPI (M)-backed CITU today called a 24-hour bandh at Haldia Petrochemical on April 8 next demanding permanent employment for 183 casual workers.

CITU State Committee member Ashok Pattnaik and the Secretary of the Trade Unions' Haldia Zonal committee said, ''We called this strike as a last resort to press the demands for permanent employment of these workers out of a total of 1,500 casual workers.

''We were today asked by the General Manager of the HPL S S Moitra to sit with them for a settlement. As the president of our organisation Laxman Seth (MP) is away in Coimbatore and we are not in a position to decide on a date as yet.'' However, State Industry and Commerce Minister Nirupam Sen said from Coimbatore that he hoped the union and the HPL management should jointly resolve the issue as soon as possible and not extend it any further.

Meanwhile, the members here continued to shout slogans and put up posters in front of the Haldia Petrochemicals on the busy link road near Durgachak for the second day today.

Commenting on a demand of the trade union, the GM said that they are hopeful about a solution after Mr Seth returned from Coimbatore.

''We have many reservations regarding the demand, but at the same time we are hopeful that things will look up after a thorough discussion in a cordial atmosphere,'' the GM said.

If the strike call remains, it will be the first such industrial action in the HPL since the venture started production in 2001. The then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had led the foundation stone for the refinery in the mid-80s in Haldia.

Mr Pattanik said that all the 875 permanent employees and 1,500 casual workers would join the strike from 0600 hrs onwards on April 8. However, the emergency boiler unit will be exempted from the strike.

UNI XC LL AB RL HT1925

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