Nearly 70 permanent and contract employees of the Udyogmandal unit of the public sector Hindustan Insecticides Limited (now HIL India Pvt. Ltd.) are staring at a bleak future, with the Union government remaining firm on its disinvestment.
Set up in 1956, HIL is the first Central public sector unit in the State. The Department of Public Enterprises had decided to close down the company’s Udyogmandal and Bhatinda units following a recommendation by the NITI Aayog. With salary and other dues piling up, the employees are running from pillar to post to save the public sector unit from a permanent closure.
“Nearly 65 permanent employees have not received their salary for the past five months, while the remaining contract workers have been penniless for the past nine months. The provident fund of the employees has not been paid since July 2021. Those who have retired since July 2022 are yet to receive their benefits, including gratuity and leave encashment,” according to the employees.
Efforts by trade unions to explore the possibility of takeover by the State government or absorption of the employees into the Fertilizers and Chemical Travancore (FACT) have not yet yielded results. K. Chandran Pillai, senior trade union leader, pointed out in a communication that the diversification initiated after renaming the company as HIL India Ltd. had resulted in a turnover of ₹380 crore. “It is vital to retain the public sector unit as the private sector had already cornered a lion’s share of the domestic production,” he said.
The company had stopped production nearly two years ago. Its prospects took a hit after the government banned the manufacturing of Endosulfan. The closure of DDT and Dicofol plants in 2018 had worsened the situation.