Staff Reporter

BHUBANESWAR: Workers of erstwhile Hirakud Industrial Workers Limited (HIWL) threatened to take law into their own had if State government failed to absorb them in its parent department Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL).

They alleged that Kolkata-based Versha Fabrics Private Limited (VFPL), which had taken over HIWL at a throw away price, was not respecting the purchase agreement.

Although it had promised to pay the legitimate dues to employees, HIW Workers Union claimed they had not been paid 26 months of salary, provident fund and gratuity since 2002, which accumulated to about Rs. 20 crore till date. It further said at least eight employees had died due to lack of food and medical care.

In their attempt to bring the issue to the notice of State government, the employees staged a dharna at Hirakud and Bhubaneswar for 118 days.

Subsequently, the government had assured that it would cancel the share purchase agreement with the Kolkata-based company.

After three months of assurance, an inter-departmental core group meeting decided to cancel the agreement with VFPL and resale the units. Another committee headed by the Chief Secretary too unanimously agreed for the same.

“After long waiting of six months, the government in the Ministry-level headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik surprisingly took a u-turn and decided that the government will not cancel the agreement and will give one more chance to the company,” alleged Fanindra Bhushan Pattnaik, chairman of core committee of workers unions.