Kendrapara: Hundreds of workers of Baladevjew Powerloom are yet to get their dues even though 23 years have elapsed since the closure of the government-owned textile mill, sources said.
The issue came to fore recently after a delegation of the aggrieved workers, led by labour leader Muralidhar Das, submitted a memorandum in this regard to the district administration.
The saris, towels and other clothes produced by the powerloom were once very much popular in Kendrapara district. “Kendrapara district has been deprived of any industry after the closure of the powerloom.
Over 200 workers are yet to receive their arrears even though the textile mill had been closed around 23 years ago. We have raised the issue with the district administration and the elected representatives several times but to no avail,” Das said.
In the meantime, at least 10 workers of the powerloom have passed away while many others are languishing in financial miseries. Many workers are suffering from old-age ailments and waiting for some assistance from the district administration, sources said.
Baladevjew Powerloom had started manufacturing clothes in 1969. However, the state government had decided to close the textile mill in 1998, two years after it started incurring losses.
The closure of the powerloom pushed many into financial miseries. At least, 200 workers of the powerloom have been given VRS since September 30, 2001. However, these workers are yet to get their arrears from September, 1996, sources added.
Various equipment and machinery of the powerloom were sold away without the knowledge of the workers. The workers had filed a case in the Orissa High Court seeking their arrears and other benefits.
The HC, in its March 6, 2019 order, had directed the liquidator to pay the arrears to the workers. However, the workers are yet to receive their dues, sources said.
On the other hand, closure of the powerloom has benefitted some unscrupulous persons. These people have encroached upon the powerloom land. “Valuable equipment of the powerloom is rusting away while the roof of the structure has suffered extensive damage over the years,” said a source.
When contacted, ADM Basant Kumar Rout said the administration would look into the issue.