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SEZs are zamindaris, says CITU leader

March 27, 2007 10:13 IST

The Special Economic Zone concept represents another form of "Zamindari" system, Kali Ghosh, general secretary, CITU West Bengal Committee, said on Monday.

"The system will create distortions as certain industrialists having capital would be given incentives and land," Ghosh said during an interactive session with Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Kolkata.

With the benefits, the SEZs would create monopolies and act as a hindrance to competition, he said.

CITU is also opposed to the fact that the SEZs would have separate labour laws, he said.

Asked about the fact that the Left ruled West Bengal has planned a number of SEZs to attract industries, he said, "The state cannot remain in isolation when the whole of the country has adopted the SEZ model. But we are against separate labour laws in the SEZs."

He said the Centre's efforts of changing the labour laws and introducing the hire and fire policy has not seen the light of the day because of the opposition of the left in the Parliament.

Ghosh said the trade unions are aware of the increased competition among industries owing to liberalisation of the import regime.

"We will behave responsibly provided the industries also follow the legal formalities relating to payment of provident fund and gratuity dues," he said.

The industries are taking advantage of the paucity of employment and making people work for more than the specified working hours by paying a meagre salary resulting in conflicts with the unions, he said.

"If the industry behaves responsibly, we are ready to co-operate," he added.

He pointed out that most of the mandays were lost because of lockouts and not strikes because of "exploitative" nature of the industrialists.

He said CITU has also taken up the issue of proper provident fund and minimum wage benefit for the contract workers, who are made to work for more than 16 hours in a day.

CITU has also taken up the cause of the unorganised labour force in the country.

"We are demanding a comprehensive labour law for the unorganised sector. The law should include social security benefits, minimum wage and protection of working conditions of the labour," Ghosh said.

BS Reporter in Kolkata
Source: