A.V. Ragunathan

A marked departure from the earlier practice of granting `paid holiday'

CUDDALORE: Several employees of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation were disappointed because the management did not give them permission to attend the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's function at Neyveli on Saturday.

President of the Labour Progressive Front G. Dhandapani told The Hindu that when the employees approached Chairman-cum-Managing Director S. Jayaraman seeking special leave to enable them to attend the function, the latter turned it down.

Mr. Dhandapani said it was a marked departure from the earlier practice of granting "paid holiday" to the employees to attend important occasions. The employees enjoyed such a benefit in 1977 when the then President Sanjiva Reddy and again in 1985 when the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi accompanied by the then Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran visited the NLC.

The LPF leader said the Chairman had denied them permission on the pretext that he did not want any disruption either in lignite mining or in power generation by mass leave.

However, the leaders of trade unions and associations were invited. Mr. Dhandapani said since the Bharathi Stadium, venue of the function, was cordoned off for the past three days, some of the employees abstained from the function as they did not want to undergo the rigour of the security drill.

A section of the employees opted to stay away because they felt that in the absence of entry pass they would be hedged to a corner. However, the management mobilised thousands of students from the NLC-run schools for the audience.