It will ultimately lead to permanent closure: chairman

V. Balan, Chairman of Anglo French Textile Mill, on Saturday said that the mill would not approach the National Company Law Tribunal for its revival as suggested by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Speaking to reporters here, he said that though a high-level team led by a senior official of the National Textile Corporation (NTC) visited the defunct mill on last June to study the possibility of reviving it based on a proposal seeking Rs.500 crore from the Centre, it had not submitted its report to the Puducherry government so far.

Instead, the MHA had sent a communication to the mill asking whether the proposal had been sent to the National Company Law Tribunal or not.

But, the management has decided not to approach the tribunal as it would ultimately lead to the permanent closure of the mill.

Stating that the accumulated loss of the mill had crossed Rs.500 crore and it had Rs.180 crore of statutory obligations including loan, electricity bill, provident fund among others, there were just two options to revive the mill. It could be either by Rs.500 crore special grant from the Centre or by selling property owned by the mill at Pattanur in Tamil Nadu. The Centre had not responded favourably so far to the Rs.500-crore proposal. The MHA has also not given permission to sell 56 acres of land at Pattanur despite a Cabinet decision and consent of Lt. Governor Virendra Kataria to this effect.

Refuting allegations that the Puducherry government had not taken steps to run the mill, Mr. Balan said that it was because of support provided by the Chief Minister that the workers of the mill were given paid holidays for so long, despite the mill not functioning for about two years.

The government had taken a strong stand to revive the mill in spite of numerous communications by the Union Planning Commission that suggested that the mill be converted into shopping complex, resorts and hotels.

The government had given Rs.50 crore during the past two years to the mill as grant in aid. A sum of Rs.5 crore out of it had been spent on capital expenditure. The rest was spent on payment of salary, gratuity, provident fund and so on.

Workers were given salary and advance in spite of no production. It should be understood that Rs.50 crore was tax payers’ money, he said.

Justifying the 45-day lay-off, Mr. Balan said the decision was taken only after consulting unions and representatives of the mill in front of the Labour Commissioner and the period would be utilised to take steps to arrange funds for revival of the mill.

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