The Uduma Textiles Mill, defunct after a much-publicised opening in 2011, perhaps stands for the route usually taken by such initiatives in north Malabar.
The machinery and other equipment, bought at crores of rupees, have been left to rot at the mill, situated on 3.2 hectares of land at Mailatty in the Uduma panchayat limits. And no immediate revival plans are in sight.
The operational plans of the mill got a jolt when the United Democratic Front government annulled the list of 180 workers appointed on an ad hoc basis, citing lack of transparency in their selection.
The mill was opened by the then Industries Minister, Elamaram Karim, on January 28, 2011. Of the earmarked Rs. 18 crore, Rs. 16 crore was utilised for installing machinery and equipment imported from Germany and China.
The mill was part of the initiatives that saw the setting up of another mill at Pinarayi in Kannur and renovation of the Kerala Spinning Mill at Komalapuram in Alappuzha district, all supervised by Kerala State Textile Mill Corporation Ltd. The mill was set up to process cotton procured from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to manufacture cotton thread and quality dress materials.
Now the employees on the list have approached the Kerala High Court challenging the government decision to go for fresh recruitment. The government did not file a counter-affidavit. The Kerala State Electricity Board has cut power supply to the mill because of the dues of lakhs of rupees. Now, there is only a watchman to guard the mill. Its Managing Director, K. Rajan, was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram and Section Officer, Salim, to Malappuram.
The mill could not get registration certification so far. The Industries Department has appointed Abdul Khader, a senior Indian Union Muslim League leader from Uppala, chairman of the Uduma and the Pinarayi mills a few months ago. However, facilities have not been provided to discharge his duties, Mr. Khader says. “I had drawn the attention of Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty to the need to step up efforts to revive the defunct mill. But the Minister only promised to look into the matter,” Mr. Khader says.