Friday, October 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Tension at MUL factory

NEW DELHI, Oct 19 (PTI) — tension mounted at Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) factory nearby Gurgaon today with the death of another employee whose body was found across the nearby Railway track, a day after another employee had died in the factory premises.

The body of 20-year-old Rajesh Kumar in work uniform was recovered by police in less than 24 hours of the death of Chanderbhan (56) in the factory premises, triggering allegations of high-handedness by management.

When contacted, MUL managing Director Jagdish Khattar who has been negotiating with agitating workers, told PTI that the body was found about 8 km away from the factory premises and he would not be able to comment on the death.

Mathew Abraham, General Secretary of the MUL Employees Union, which is on war path against the management to press for implementation of incentive and pension schemes, said that there were signs of swelling of his body and the situation was tense as the police had cordoned off the site.

While confirming the death of Rajesh Kumar, Gurgaon police said they were sending the body of Chanderbhan for post-mortem examination.

Mr Apoorva Chandra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, said though Bhan’s death appeared normal the police was sending the body for post-mortem examination following union’s allegation of foul play by management.

Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) said today that the death of an employee on October 17 was ‘unrelated’ to the ongoing agitation and claimed that the company was producing about 50 per cent of the normal car output.

“The recovery of the body of Rajesh Kumar, an apprentice, by the police near the Railway station at Dhawanpur, Gurgaon, 10 km from the factory premises, is unrelated to the ongoing agitation,” MUL managing Director Jagdish Khattar told newsmen here today.

He said the police was seized of the matter and the company had assured district authorities of all assistance in investigating the matter.

On the production, Khattar said the company manufactured about 762 cars yesterday against the normal output of about 1500 vehicles with the help of 3007 workers.

“About 50 per cent production was maintained in the last two days mainly with the help of apprentices, supervisors and non-technical staff who had earlier received some training,” he said.

The production of cars would reach 1000 units per day in a few days time, he said and expressed confidence that the agitation would be over soon.

Some cars like Maruti-800 and Omni were out of stock, he said the company would restore normalcy soon.

“Once we restore normalcy difficulty being faced by the customers would be eased,” he said adding there should not be any apprehension about the safety of any vehicle produced during this period.

Mr Khattar said the company had announced a new incentive scheme which would start from the next month and added “it was beyond the maximum paying capacity. The union had demanded about Rs 42,000 per month (cost to the company) against about Rs 23,000 in 1999-2000. Mr Khattar said the agitation was a purely internal matter of the company and the government and MUL management and the board would solve the matter. 

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