Zira liquor plant shut, over 1,200 workers rendered jobless : The Tribune India

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Zira liquor plant shut, over 1,200 workers rendered jobless

Sanjha Morcha demands relief for staff

Zira liquor plant shut, over 1,200 workers rendered jobless

The ethanol plant at Mansurwala village in Zira. Tribune Photo



Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, January 18

More than 1,200 workers, who worked at the ethanol plant owned by Malbros International Private Limited, have been rendered jobless following the closure of the unit situated at Mansurwala village in Zira.

Earlier, these workers were optimistic that the plant might resume operations after the issue gets resolved. However, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s decision regarding permanent closure of the plant has left them

disillusioned.

Though most of the workers were temporarily relieved by the factory management after protesters sat on a dharna outside the plant, around 150 workers, including technical and operational staff, were still reporting for duty.

In July, many workers had started a parallel protest demanding resumption of operations. However, their agitation could not gain momentum.

Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, who worked as a supervisor at the ethanol plant, said, “Our life has become miserable. Instead of helping, people are making fun of us. There is no way forward.” “We tried to inform the protesters that the factory was following all norms, but nobody listened to us,” he added.

Another worker, Joginder Singh of Ferozepur, said he had been working at this plant for the past 13 years. “I haven’t received salary for the past four months. I took a loan to send my elder son abroad, but now I am feeling helpless,” said Joginder, adding that the government should think about their future as well.

Even the state exchequer has also been incurring losses on account of loss of excise and other taxes generated by the plant, which runs into crores. All attempts to contact the plant management proved futile today.

Members of the Sanjha Morcha for the first time demanded that the state government should pay a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to ad hoc employees and Rs 4 lakh to the permanent staff of the plant.

Fateh Singh Dhillon, another member of the morcha, said the state government should issue a notification regarding the permanent closure of the ethanol unit at the earliest.

Sarpanch Gurmel Singh of Mansurwala village said, “We also want a solution for underground water, which has been contaminated. Besides, the government should help family members of those who have died.” He said a medical team should be deputed to look after patients suffering from skin diseases, kidney problems and other issues. “We also want compensation for the cattle we lost,” demanded another protester.

Roman Brar of the Sanjha Morcha said the decision regarding the future course of action would be taken tomorrow after holding discussions with farm and labour unions.

Meanwhile, the Sanjha Morcha today started “Akhand Path” at a gurdwara in Mahian Kalan village.

Think about us, not paid for months

I haven’t received salary for the past four months. I took a loan to send my elder son abroad, but now I am feeling helpless. The government should think about us as well. — Joginder, worker

#Ferozepur #Zira Agitation


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