Bathinda, April 24
Nearly 94 employees of the Bathinda unit of Hindustan Insecticides Limited (now HIL India Pvt Ltd) are staring at a bleak future, with the Union Government remaining firm on its disinvestment.
The Department of Public Enterprises had decided to close this public sector unit (PSU) following a recommendation by NITI Aayog. With salary and other dues piling up, the employees are running from pillar to post to save the company from a permanent closure.
The employees have urged the state government to take over the plant or deploy the staff in National Fertilizers Limited (NFL), Bathinda. The foundation stone of the HIL plant in Bathinda was laid in 1999 by then Union minister Surjit Singh Barnala. It was inaugurated in 2003 by then Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
The employees claimed it was vital to run the PSU as the private sector had already cornered a lion’s share of the domestic production.
Hindustan Insecticides Employees’ Union president Bhanu Prakash and general secretary Sunil Gaur said the employees had not got salaries for the past six months. It has been two years since the HIL paid the employer’s share of the provident fund despite deducting it from the employees’ salaries. Those who retired from service in the past six-seven months are yet to be paid gratuity and other benefits.
They said employees of more than 50 years of age were ready to opt for VRS if given a good package and younger employees could be adjusted in the NFL or any other industry in Bathinda or nearby.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha recently, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Bhagwanth Khuba said the two plants in Kerala and Punjab had been incurring losses for the last several years and were unviable to be operated due to various reasons. The Punjab plant is an agro-chemical formulation plant for solid and liquid pesticides. The technical grade of pesticides are transported from the company’s Maharashtra and Kerala plants and formulated in Punjab, which makes the overall proposition “unviable”.
The plant is also “suffering losses” due to low automation, excess manpower and non-availability of raw materials, he added.
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