Bipartite accord signed for reopening of Dunlop factory
Kolkata, Apr 9: Ending years of uncertainty about the future of the erstwhile tyre major, the new management of Dunlop India Limited today signed a historic bipartite agreement with the labour unions to pave the way for reopeing its Sahaganj factory here by August this year.
The much-awaited bipartite agreement was signed by four senior representatives of the Ruia Group, which had now acquired the management of the closed Dunlop unit early last year from the Dubai based Jumbo Group, on one side and those from the INTUC and the CITU on the other amid tremendous jubilation from the employees at a simple function here today.
While Dunlop India Limited Executive Director Ashok Jajodia headed the four member management representatives who signed the agreements, INTUC General Secretary Ranjit Neogi and his counterpart in the CITU union Dipankar Roy Chowdhury and their six other team members signed on their behalf ending years of uncertainty about the possibility of reopening the famous Sahajang Factory, closed since March 2001.
Speaking to the newsmen after the agreement was signed, Chairman of the Ruia Group Pawan Ruia said of about 2600 former employees of Dunlop Sahagang unit as many as 1200 would be re-employed in the new plant, while the remainnig 1400, mostly the unskilled labourers, would be offered.
Claiminig that today's agreement had created a new ray of hopes among the former employees of Dunlop, one of the largest and most famous tyre manufacturers of the subcontinent till early 1970s, Mr Ruia said following detailed discussions with the representatives of the labour unions, he had planned to start the revamping process of the Sahaganj Factory within the next two weeks before starting production latest by August-September.
''The employees have promised me their fullest cooperation in re-staring the plant within the next four to five months after re-running and installing the new machineries under the revamp programme,'' Mr Ruia said. About the investment scenario, Mr Ruia said about Rs 400 crores had been earmarked for running the Sahagunj factory in full stream before this year end. Of this at least Rs 100 croes would be spent for upgradation and modernisatiion of the factory and its machineries, while about Rs 200 crores would be paid to clear previous dues and liabilities despite a section of which was wiped out by the state government in terms of electricity and infrastructurasl support.
Regarding the production, Mr Ruia informed that he was assured by the employees that the company's production level would certainly be upgraded from the previous 90 tonnes per day to at least 130 tonnes a day within a week from restarting it at Sahaganj factory.
Before closure Dunlop India's Sahagunj factory was famous for the manufacture of giant truck and avaition tyres, while its plant in Tamil Nadu produced car and smaller tyres.
Incidentally, since its total closure about five years ago under the Jumbo management, the Dunlop employees here had undergone tremendous suffering by not receiving any financial assistance from the previous management.
While most of the people had lost all hopes of its reopeing even after Mr Ruia took over the new management last year, a few others, however, clung on to the last hopes for a bright future despite all odds.
A number of former employees who failed to cope with financial hardship had reportedly committed suicide.