A large number of workers from the granite industry assembled near the Collector’s office here on Wednesday, with their families, demanding government intervention and immediate restoration of the functioning of the industry.
The unannounced stir came as a shock as the agitators had not obtained permission, a police officer at the Collectorate said. The All India Forward Bloc Usilampatti MLA, Kathiravan, led the agitation.
Circulating a two-page statement to the media persons, the agitators, who squatted on the road, said that the industry had been targeted by some officials and a malicious campaign had been on against their employers.
Under the guise of unravelling irregularities in the granite mining, the sector had been sealed. “We are jobless. Our future is bleak. Our families are in a jeopardy…We have no clue as to what would happen next as the normal functioning of the units have suddenly come to a grinding halt,” they said.
The workers went on to state that the granite industry employed several thousands of workers directly and indirectly in this region. With huge exports, the industry earned foreign exchange for the country and the governments have recognised the performance in the past.
When such was the reality, the workers were baffled to learn that the industry had indulged in irregularities and allegedly cheated the governments by suppressing the truth in mining activities. The government had to intervene, the agitators said. “Even if we (workers) want to search for alternatives, our original – educational and conduct – certificates are with the employers," a youth, who claimed himself to be working as a machine operator in a granite firm said and added that the employers were also not reachable or accessible now due to series of actions.
The agitators expressed concern over the “trial by media” on the issue and condemned the way the industry was being presented to the public. Later, a memorandum was submitted to the DRO, they noted.