Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D. Purandeswari on Saturday said orders had been issued by Ministry of Mines to put transfer of 260 workers of Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) by Vedanta Group on hold and disburse salaries pending for the past three months immediately.

After her intervention, Union Mines Minister Dinsha Patel directed Vedanta, which has nearly 65 per cent stake in the HZL, to execute the orders without any delay, she told The Hindu.

Ms. Purandeswari, who went to Zinc Smelter to express her solidarity with the agitating workers of the HZL over year-long shutdown of Zinc Smelter, said the ground shown by the management to close its operations in the city were “frivolous, unjustified and beyond expectation of anyone.”

HZL commissioned its operations in 1977 and the unit is located in an area of 360 acres in Mindi near Gajuwaka. It was disinvested during the NDA regime.

“I don’t know how to react. Shunting out 260 workers to Rajasthan and other States with the condition that they will get salaries only after they report at the new place of posting is nothing but coercion,” she said and pointed out that this could be a preparation by the management to layoff the unit.

“The reasons cited for closure such as there is no place to dump sludge and power situation in Andhra Pradesh are not justified. They have two tanks each on 10 acres. The second tank is half filled and it can last for another five years. Even if it is full, they can develop couple of tanks on vacant land. About power problem, they must know how the ferroalloys and other units are able to manage,” she stated.

High-level meeting

She said after her intervention, Mr. Dinsha Patel had given written instructions to HZL management to carry out the orders. A high-level meeting has been convened by Mr. Patel to discuss Zinc Smelter issue in Delhi on March 20.

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