Monday, September 10, 2012


Workers want revival of granite units

A large number of workers from the granite industry assembled near the Collector’s office here on Wednesday, with their families, demanding government intervention and immediate restoration of the functioning of the industry.
The unannounced stir came as a shock as the agitators had not obtained permission, a police officer at the Collectorate said. The All India Forward Bloc Usilampatti MLA, Kathiravan, led the agitation.
Circulating a two-page statement to the media persons, the agitators, who squatted on the road, said that the industry had been targeted by some officials and a malicious campaign had been on against their employers.

“We are jobless. Our future is bleak. Our families are in a jeopardy…We have no clue as to what would happen next as the normal functioning of the units have suddenly come to a grinding halt,” they said.
The workers went on to state that the granite industry employed several thousands of workers directly and indirectly in this region. With huge exports, the industry earned foreign exchange for the country and the governments have recognised the performance in the past.
After the units were shut down last month, the workers are facing lot of hardship without employment and some of the marriages that were scheduled got cancelled due to this, the employees charged.
Addressing media persons after submitting the petition, Kathiravan said the district administration has initiated action against the granite quarries and has filed cases. PRP also is ready to face those cases legally. However, it is important that the government should consider reopening the sealed granite units to safeguard the livelihood of the workers depending on the units, he said.
"More than 40,000 people are working in PRP and among them nearly 11,000 are from Usilampatti region. Depending upon the salaries they were drawing from the company, many have admitted their children in schools, took bank loans and other commitments. But now, everything is at stake. Some of the marriages of the employees scheduled in these months were also cancelled on these grounds. Hence, we urge the state government to reopen the granite companies and we believe that chief minister will consider the plight of the workers," he said.
Many of the workers, including women in large number who were emotionally charged, raised slogans against the government stating that false cases are being framed against their owner. Sternly defending PRP, the workers said that none of the complaints filed against him were true. "It is not true that PRP destroyed water bodies or encroached upon government lands. All of the government lands are intact and the water bodies were not touched", said P Manikandan, one of the employees.
"The media is projecting the scrap granite stones as illegally hoarded ones, but in fact, they were rejected by the company which can be used for various other purposes including in green houses announced by the government and schools," he said.
"PRP has provided us with all benefits along with employment and taken care of the employees very well. Sudden closure of these units will drive the youth to take up anti-social elements, so the government should reopen the granite company immediately," said T K Jayakumar, supervisor in PRP.



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