Layoffs: Youths, farmers block gate of Rajpura power plant

Were demanding reinstatement of ousted workers

Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 24

Youths and residents of several villages in Rajpura joined by activists of the Bharti Kisan Union Ugrahan on Monday blocked entry and exit gates of Rajpura thermal power plant over laying off youths from the plant leaving workers, including women, inside the plant premises.

Farmers blocked the entry and exit gates of the Rajpura power plant on Monday morning. Manjit Singh Nyal, district president of BKU Ugrahan, said they took up the issue with the plant management number of times but they did not pay any heed. He said, “A number of youths of adjoining villages who had been working at the plant till 2015 were laid off by officials. We have been demanding their reinstatement. The plant officials are responsible for the management of underbridge of adjoining railway line, ensuring proper green belt in the area and installation of boundary fencing around trees adjacent to the plant and village farmlands from where wild animals enter villagers’ farmlands. We blocked one of the gates today and will block the remaining gates tomorrow if the matter stands unresolved.”

Officials of Nabha Power Limited said the youths were hired by a contractor and not by the plant officials directly. “They had filed an appeal in the office of Labour Commissioner over laying off which was rejected. Today, Over 100-150 farmers blocked the entry gate of the plant leaving all employees, including women, inside the plant. The matter has been brought to the notice of the district administration. It was not the responsibility of the plant management to maintain the underpass,” an official of the power plant said. The plant officials have filed a complaint against the youths and farmers with the district police alleging illegal confinement.

DSP Ghanaur Jaswinder Tiwana late in the evening said the police were trying to resolve the matter through talks. He said there was no obstruction to the entry and exit of employees from the plant premises.

Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Hans said the administration was in talks with the farmers and plant officials. “The SDM and the DSP Rajpura are at the site. We are trying to resolve the matter”, he said.

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