Hindustan Organic Chemical’s Kochi unit is in serious trouble, having made a loss of nearly Rs.30 crore so far this financial year in the face of liberalised phenol import regime.
Employees and officers of the unit here, numbering 435, have alleged dumping of phenol in the Indian market under the cover of the liberalised import by companies in the United States of America, South Korea and Taiwan.
They launched a two-day mass hunger strike before the company office in Amblamugal, near here, demanding immediate restoration of the anti-dumping duty, which was withdrawn in March 2012.
Sources in the HOCL unit said the withdrawal of anti-dumping duty had plunged the unit here into serious financial trouble and the unit made a loss of Rs.37 crore during 2012-13.
It was the second time in its 26-year-old history that the unit recorded losses. On a previous occasion, the unit made a loss of about Rs.5 crore during 2001-02. The unit has been doing well over 2011-12 and 2010-11, during which periods it made profits of Rs.27 crore and Rs.130 crore respectively.
The employees and officers are also demanding that the company be given sufficient working capital to run its day-to-day production. This is because it has now been forced to avail itself of a bank loan of Rs.30 crore on which it is coughing up an interest of approximately Rs.35 lakh per month.
The interest burden has become a major liability for the unit and the salaries of the employees for October were reportedly delayed, painting a grim picture of the shape of things to come, sources said.
They expressed the fear that if the situation continued, the 40,000-tonnes per year unit would walk into the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) net soon.
The employees have appealed to the government to evolve a revival package for the unit in the wake of these developments.
K.S. Prakasan, convenor of Save HOCL Joint Action Council, a forum of trade unions across political affiliations, said the employees and officers under the forum planned to submit a memorandum to Srikant Kumar Jena, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, in December.
He said the attention of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and MPs from the State had been drawn to the situation.