As Swadeshi, Bharathi mills workers are yet to get their salary

Even as over 500 workers of State-run Swadeshi Cotton Mills and the Sri Bharathi Mills here wait to get their salary almost halfway into this month, labour unions have demanded a CBI inquiry into what they alleged to be large scale diversion of funds given by the government to the mill management.

Swadeshi Cotton Mills and Bharathi Mills, are the units of Swadeshee-Bharathee Textile Mills Ltd., a public sector undertaking of Government of Puducherry. These mills were taken over by the State government in 2005 from National Textile Corporation (NTC).

“We are shocked to see a notification from management stating that the salary would not be paid on the due date under unavoidable circumstances. The notification also stated that the date of salary disbursal would be announced later,” said P. Gnanasekaran, secretary of INTUC. Seeking intervention, R. Devarasu, vice-president of CITU said: “These mills are in bad shape due to mismanagement. Though the management received financial assistance from the territorial administration, the funds were being diverted for irrelevant purposes. Hence the livelihoods of workers have become uncertain now.”

V.S. Abishegam, secretary of AITUC told The Hindu, “The management has taken this unilateral decision without any prior notification to workers or without consulting labour unions. We demand immediate intervention of the government and order a CBI probe into alleged irregularities.”

Denying allegations of irregularities, S. Baskaran, chairman of Swadeshee-Bharathee Textile Mills Ltd said, “For the past two years, we have been running the units successfully by receiving grant from Government. The welfare of workers was duly taken care and would continue to do so in future. In this month, there is delay in disbursal of salaries as we got reduced grant from the government and some of our customers failed to pay up on time. All grievances of workers will be redressed duly.”

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