Millennium Post

Jute workers block road in N-24 Pgns after sudden closure of mill

Workers of a jute mill blocked the road at North 24 Parganas’ Kankinara area, after the authorities suddenly decided to shut its shop.

The infuriated workers blocked the road for two hours and demanded to have the mill opened immediately. The workers had on Monday morning seen the closure notice at the mill.

“We were not informed earlier. It was a hasty decision by the authorities. We will go for movement,” said one of the protesting union leaders.

A massive fire had broken out at the same mill last month. The blaze had spread over the 10,000 sq ft area of the mill factory, especially in the store section, where jute materials were stocked.

Eight fire tenders were fighting the flames, which was first spotted around 10.00 pm, an official of the mill said. The extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained.

The fire, which was suspected to have been caused by a short circuit, partly affected traffic on the nearby state highway. There were no casualties or injuries reported said an official.

However, the labourers alleged that the mill – which was running when the fire had broken out – reportedly did not have adequate fire security arrangements, which later was proved to be true.

The fire is estimated to have caused a loss of more than Rs.1 crore, reducing the jute stocks to ashes. Though a short circuit is thought to be the likely cause of the fire, the fire brigade department later did not divulge the report which the labours demanded to see.

“We thought the fire was an act of sabotage. The owners set the factory on fire intentionally, so that they can easily close the factory without giving the pending salary to the workers,” a worker alleged.

The police, meanwhile, have started an investigation. “We have received the complaint from the workers and have initiated a probe. We will see whether or not there is any conspiracy on the part of owners,” said a police officer.
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