TNSC workers protest privatisation move

‘Plan to hand over over plant to Thoothukudi-based company’

Updated - September 23, 2017 12:35 pm IST

Published - September 19, 2017 08:26 pm IST

Workers observing a fast in front Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation unit at Valinockam in Ramanathapuram district on Tuesday.

Workers observing a fast in front Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation unit at Valinockam in Ramanathapuram district on Tuesday.

Workers of the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation (TNSC) raised a banner of protest against the move to hand over to private parties the recently inaugurated refinery unit and portion of salt pans, which produced salt for making three varieties of ‘Amma salt’, affordably priced common salt.

A week after workers of the CITU union staged a demonstration in front of TNSC at Valinokkam in the district, workers owing allegiance to the DMK-affiliated Labour Progressive Front (LPF) observed a fast on Tuesday, protesting the privatisation move.

The TNSC, which had been producing salt since 1978 after setting up salt pans on 5,500 acres in this area, achieved a milestone in April with the commissioning of salt refinery, established with the aid of Tata Trusts to produce Iodised and Double Fortified Salt (DFS).

CITU district secretary Sivaji said that a Thoothukudi-based company, which established the refinery plant on behalf of Tata Trusts, assured to demonstrate production of 7.5 tonnes of DFS in an hour before handing over the plant to the TNSC but produced only around 3 tonnes per hour.

Meanwhile, citing ‘inefficiency’ of the workers who could not produce 7.5 tonnes per hour, the corporation proposed to hand over the plant to the Thoothukudi-based private company, he alleged.

When the Tata Trusts established the refinery partnering with the State government and TNSC in its nationwide effort to lower the cases of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA), the TNSC was trying to hand over the refinery to the private company with an ulterior motive, alleged Mr. Sivaji.

The Corporation also proposed to hand over a section of pans, which produced salt for making ‘Amma salt’ and called for tenders, he said. The CITU would stage a picketing agitation in front of the Corporation on Thursday to protest the move and urge the authorities to drop the privatisation move, Mr Sivaji said.

P.K. Dillikumar, General Manager, TNSC, could not be contacted for his comments. About 1,500 worker, including about 600 women, almost all contract workers, are employed in the Corporation.

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