|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
'Is Rs 2,500 a very big amount to pay?'
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | October 03, 2003 21:49 IST
As Anand Dalvi battles for his life at St George's Hospital with 90 per cent burns, his inconsolable mother is livid at Tata Power.
"Tell me, is Rs 2,500 a very big amount to pay an employee in a month?" asks a weeping Indira Dalvi to passersby at the hospital.
"They didn't pay that amount to my son and he set himself on fire. They have ruined his life," screams Indira, beating her chest. "May god take these people to hell when they die."
Indira's sorrow finds words soon after a nurse tells her that Anand has little chance of survival.
Dalvi is not alone.
"Anand's only dream was to get his job back. When he was sacked, he was paid Rs 2,500 per month as salary. His only demand was to be re-employed at the same salary as he was without job for the last seven years. He tried very hard to do odd jobs but was finding it difficult to make his ends meet as it never paid him more than Rs 1,500 per month," says Rohidas Narat, brother-in-law of Dalvi.
Colleagues of Dalvi and Akhtar told rediff.com that Tata Power had sacked 73 employees. Upset over the decision, all had filed a case in the Labour Court.
Dalvi and Akhtar's extreme step came after the Tata Power management struck a deal with the union to hike wages of permanent employees.
"We felt cheated because our union leader Kailash Shinde told us two days ago that the management was considering to reinstate us. This didn't happen and he quietly signed a deal with the management for existing permanent employees without consulting us," says Deepak Nivatkar.
"So all sacked employees went to Bombay House (headquarters of Tata group) to protest against this decision. We were taken by surprised when Dalvi and Akhtar self-immolated. No one among us expected this to happen," Nivatkar, who is one among the seventy-three sacked workers, told rediff.com
Shivaji Hulan, another former employee, is upset that he could not save Dalvi and Akhtar from burns.
"I was very near when they self-immolated. I tried to extinguish the fire but could not do so. I burnt my hands in the process. I only wish I had been quicker. They would have not been burned so badly," Hulan rues.
A spokesman of Tata Power, however, said, "Anand Dalvi and Akthar Khan, who immolated themselves were part of our ex-project roll employees."
"Tata Power Company Ltd is very saddened by the incident that took place early this afternoon and has offered full medical cooperation and assistance to the injured," he said.
He said Dalvi and Akhtar were contractual workers and in accordance with their contractual terms the services of both were terminated on the completion of the projects they were working on.
"These workers, on cessation of the project, made demands to secure permanent employment with the TPC. The matter was taken to the Labour Court and is currently subjudice," he added.
More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts