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Jute mill workers demand justice and fair treatment from authorities


BY TC News Desk

Agartala, September 07, 2023: The jute mill workers of Tripura Jute Mill Limited (TJML) have been facing a long-standing struggle for their rights and dues, which has been ignored by the authorities despite several appeals and court orders.

The Joint Movement Committee of TJML, led by Convener Dhanamani Singh, addressed the media persons here and highlighted the various issues faced by the workers. “Firstly, the jute mill has stopped production and the workers have been suffering from various problems, such as arbitrary forest clearance without giving them alternative work opportunities, random transfers, denial of regular allowances, and restriction of their freedom of speech. The workers are adamant in their demand for the revival of the jute mill,” he said.

“Secondly, the government, in collusion with the jute mill authorities, has issued eviction notices to the workers who are living legally in the jute mill quarters. This has created chaos and distress among the workers. Some of the workers who are involved in essential services, such as security, water supply, electrical maintenance, and cleaning, are supposed to get rent-free accommodation, as per a notice by the jute mill authorities. However, even those workers have been served eviction notices after their retirement, despite getting clearance letters from the jute mill authorities that promised them post-retirement benefits. The jute mill authorities’ arguments are not convincing in view of the court verdict, which says that they have not settled the transactions yet,” he added.

“Thirdly, there is a rule in Board meeting No. 194 that provides accommodation for all working workers, retired workers, and families of deceased workers. This rule has been cancelled in meeting No. 237 of the three-member administrative board, which is unfair, especially since there is a case pending against the head of Board No. 194 and an injunction on eviction,” he further said.

“Fourthly, the jute mill authorities have violated the court order that stayed all eviction notices. They have also conducted a durability test of the entire mill buildings, implying that they might repair or demolish them. This raises questions about why they did not maintain these buildings for the last two decades, showing their negligence,” he continued.

“Fifthly, 1059 workers and pensioners are eligible for higher pensions as per the order of the Agartala Field PF Commissioner. However, due to lack of cooperation from the jute mill authorities, many of them have faced difficulties, especially in switching to online procedures. The workers demand that the order of the Agartala Field PF Commissioner be displayed on the notice board and informed to the concerned authorities,” he concluded.

He summarized the workers’ demands as follows: Withdraw eviction notices and cancel Board decision No. 237 regarding housing. Pay salary dues from January 1, 1996, as per the court judgment. Issue the joint declaration letter confirming receipt of the pre-approved pension and notify the Field PF Commissioner.

The Joint Movement Committee of TJML Convener Dhanamani Singh said that they will continue their fight for justice and fair treatment for jute mill workers.

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