Shimla, December 16
Even as the shutting down of two Adani group-owned cement plants in Himachal seems to be assuming political overtones, the Industries Department today issued show-cause notices to the management for unilaterally deciding to close the units.
“We have issued show-cause notices to the management of the two cement plants for unilaterally deciding to shut the operations abruptly. They should have exhausted all channels by involving the local administration and should have informed the state government before taking such a decision,” said Prajapati, Director, Industries. On December 14, the Adani group suddenly decided to shut down operations at Barmana (Bilaspur) and Darlaghat (Solan) plants, citing unviability due to high transportation cost. The employees were asked not to report for duty till further intimation, putting a question mark on their livelihood.
Incidentally, CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had on December 13 held a meeting with officials of the Industries Department on the issue. He is keen that the prices must drop so that the general public gets some relief. In the past, the BJP as well as Congress governments have tried with little success to bring about a reduction in prices of cement bags as this has been a lingering issue.
Now, the BJP is raking up the plant closure to hit out at the Congress for the inept handling of the issue.
Chief Secretary RD Dhiman today chaired a meeting of officials from the industries, transport and labour departments to review the situation. He said the Deputy Commissioners of Solan and Bilaspur had been asked to mediate to resolve the stalemate between the truck unions and the plant management.
“Explain, as to why action should not be initiated against you under various rules pertaining to revenue, transport, Industries and labour departments to safeguard the livelihood of the locals impacted by this unilateral decision,” the notice reads. However, no timeframe had been laid down for the company to respond.
The notice also mentions that the land for the plant, mining lease and other infrastructure had been provided by the state government to facilitate operations.
Dhiman ruled out the possibility of shortage of cement in Himachal, saying that the Ultratech plant at Arki in Solan produces 4.25 million tonnes of cement while the state’s requirement is less than 2 million tonnes.
Lingering freight issue
- In the past, the BJP as well as Cong governments have tried with little success to reduce price of cement bags
- On Dec 13, CM Sukhu chaired a meet with Industries Department on the issue
- BJP accuses Cong of ‘inept handling’
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