The long tussle between a manufacturing company and workers’ union and intolerable exploitation resulted in a strong labour force hitting streets for justice on Saturday, June 28. A large number of labourers working in Ankit Pulps & Boards Pvt. Ltd, situated on Kamptee Road, Nagpur, resorted to agitation to press for their various demands.
Ankit Pulps & Boards Pvt. Ltd deals in manufacturing of pharmaceutical powders and other raw material like Cellulose Powder, Alpha Cellulose Powder – Filter grade, Cellulose Fibre, Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC), Powdered Cellulose, Maize Starch, etc. Ankit Pulps has State-of-the-art Technology for the production of Cellulose Powder (CP), Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC), filter grade alpha cellulose, Cellulose Fibre, Maize Starch, Powdered Cellulose etc. used in welding electrode industries, pharmaceutical industries, Caustic Soda Industries etc.
Before hitting the streets, the workers and labourers had held meetings with management of the company and discussed the problems confronting them several times. But in vain. Finally, the employees knocked the doors of Sonu Sharma, District Unit President of Bharatiya Janata Party Kamgar Mahasangh. Sonu Sharma said the company Directors Anil Agrawal and Rajesh Agrawal have shown only 50 labourers in the muster roll whereas more than 200 labourers were working in the company. Moreover, the company was resorting to exploitation of workers like deducting company’s share of provident fund from labourers’ salaries and even the ESIC share of company was deducted from labourers’ salaries. The wages paid to the workers are also far less than the prescribed minimum wages, said Sharma.
Sharma further said that after receiving complaints from labourers, the Kamgar Mahasangh held several rounds of meetings with the company directors but the problems could not be hammered out. Finally, the angry employees have started an agitation in front of the company. The company has been given an ultimatum to resolve the problems till Tuesday. The further course of action will be decided in the meeting of workers to be held on Sunday (June 29), said Sharma.
According to sources, a complaint against 3 officials of the company had already been lodged with Yashodhara Police Station for misbehaviour with the employees. On the other hand, the company has blamed the labourers for causing loss of Rs 70 lakh by mishandling the boiler functioning. Moreover, another loss of Rs 80 lakh was caused by the workers when they mixed carbon in the material at the time of packing. This resulted in rejection of the material by the purchasing companies. Therefore the company has no plan to reappoint the workers who have caused losses, clarified the company while commenting on the development.
At present, the company is running the manufacture business with the help of 50 workers who have been shown on muster roll and 50 contract labourers, sources said. The Regional Vice President of Bharatiya Janata Party Kamgar Mahasangh Tekchand Savarkar has said the issue is being handled by local office bearers and no advise has so far been sought from them. When the situation goes out of hand and pressure mounts on local leaders, the role of top leaders might come into play. The local MLA Chandrashekhar Bawankule has also been apprised of the situation but so far he has not initiated any move, said Savarkar.