Financial package for FACT and payment of salary arrears for HMT unit employees

Trade unions at the ailing Hindustan Machines Tools Kalamassery unit and at Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore have not given any credence to reports in a section of the media that the Finance Ministry had approved a financial package for FACT and that it had approved the payment of salary arrears for HMT unit employees.

The media reports quoted Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs K. V. Thomas, who claimed that he had received an assurance from Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on these issues.

Mr. Thomas told The Hindu over the phone from Delhi on Wednesday that the financial package for FACT and the salary arrears for the HMT unit had been cleared by the Budget Joint Secretary and the Expenditure Secretary and would have to be approved by the Cabinet.

The trade unions claimed that the Minister had been issuing unreliable statements over the last year-and-a-half on these issues and there appeared to be no basis for his most recent assurances, said a spokesman of the Save FACT Action Committee, which is spearheading a series of protest actions to secure a revival package for the company approved by the Finance Ministry.

As of now there is no information that the rehabilitation package, worth more than Rs.900 crore, had been approved by the Finance Ministry, said the spokesman on Wednesday evening. The financial package for FACT had not come up before the Union Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, said a statement issued by the Save FACT Action Committee.

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