Workers offer wages

Published: Tuesday 15 February 1994

Offering to clean up. Workers at Baranagar jute factory in West Bengal, one of five shut down by the state pollution control board, have decided to contribute part of their wages to help install an effluent treatment plant (ETP) and get the factory reopened.

Thousands of workers at the factory were affected by the closure notice, issued by the board on the basis of a December Supreme Court judgement. A section of the workers approached the board in January and expressed willingness to personally fund the ETP. The ETP in a jute mill is required only for its dyeing and bleaching unit and costs about Rs 50,000. A section of the workers had alleged the owner was "probably happy with the Supreme Court order" because he did not intend to run the mill.

State labour minister Shanti Ghatak has urged the managements of the five companies to install ETPs as soon as possible. So far, the Baranagar management and the majority of the unions have not come forward to support the workers' offer.

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