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Tatas' Singur plant runs into labour troubles

By BS Reporter in Kolkata
August 04, 2008 10:37 IST
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Work at Tata Motors' small-car plant site was partially hit as construction, electrical and materials handling contractors have been facing issues with labour attendance.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) blocked trains including long-distance ones such as the Rajdhani Express at the Dhaniakhali railway station in the morning.

Engineers and directly employed workers however reported for work at the site.

Emboldened by the recent victory at the Panchayat elections in Singur, TMC has ramped up its campaign demanding the 400 acres acquired from 'unwilling' farmers back.

Sterling and Wilson Electricals, an associate company of Shapoorji Pallonji & Company, is one of the national-level contractors that faced labour problems at the site.

TMC and the Krishi Jami Rakkha Committee (KJRC) have allegedly issued notices to outstation labourers to leave the plant site. Migrant labourers staying at Singur village were attacked during the week, causing panic and apprehension.

When contacted, a Tata Motors spokesperson said the situation at the work site was positive. "Sporadic lack of attendance should not hamper work in the long run. Most of the work was done, but the remaining had to be completed for the Nano to roll out during the October-December quarter", he said. The spokesperson ruled out a roll-out of the car, either from Pune or Pantnagar plants.

An additional 1,000 policemen have reportedly been deployed in and around Singur. The plant already has a regular force of around 1,800 police personnel. The security has been tightened in the last two weeks after reports of a possible attack by Maoist rebels. S Patra, the Tata Motors security in-charge at the site, is in talks with both intelligence sources and the state police to ensure security of the employees.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) backed workers' union called Nirmaan Karmi Union will hold a procession in protest against TMC 'atrocities'. TMC leader Mamta Banerjee will visit Singur tommorrow, while the local Congress leadership is planning to block the National Highway 2 on the same day.

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BS Reporter in Kolkata
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