Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys vexed over workers' stir at chromite mines

The continuing stir by workers union since November 2, holding the Mahagiri chromite mines operations to ransom, has disconcerted Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA).

The agitation by the union and subsequent cease work decision, has brought to halt all activity at IMFA's Mahagiri mines in Sukinda valley. Operations and despatches from underground as well as open cast mines have stopped. Mine workers have gone on a stir, protesting the mishap that broke out at Mahagiri mines after a controlled blasting on October 26 followed by a further collapse on October 31 arising out of a local geological fault. The accident had no fatalities but two workers sustained injuries and are presently undergoing treatment. The workers' union is obdurate that work will not resume till the injured are discharged from the hospital.

The Union's stand has dismayed the IMFA management.

“We are disappointed at the Union’s stand not to resume work until injured workers are released from hospital. The injuries are not life-threatening and the best possible medical care is being provided at our cost. Therefore, such a stand is unreasonable and happening for the first time in Sukinda Valley”, said Sudhanshu Patni, vice president (mines), IMFA.

Industry stakeholders are discomfited over the underwhelming scenario for units in and around the Kalinganagar industrial complex with a few days to spare for the showpiece 'Make in Odisha' conclave.

“The chief minister is inviting new investors for the Make in Odisha event. But who benefits from them? Existing investors are feeling jittery. Local politicians are holding sway and intermittently disrupting operations of the running industrial units. Such politicians who wield enormous clout are exploiting every opportunity to show that the industries are at fault. The promoters of industries are constrained as they cannot walk away after investing their resources on a project”, said Purushottam Kandoi, president, Kalinganagar Industries Association.

Kandoi said the association has dashed off letters to the chief minister, chief secretary and industry minister, apprising them on the worsening law and order situation at industrial sites fuelled by the connivance of the local politicians.

IMFA, established in 1961, is one of the largest homegrown industrial houses in Odisha. The company has been making feverish efforts to convince the agitating workers' union to call off stir but to no avail. Though work at the mines continued normally on October 31 and November 1, the workers' union unilaterally decided to cease work on November 2.

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