Ficci seeks Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's intervention to defuse IMFA crisis

Leading industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) has sought the intervention of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik to break the impasse at Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys (IMFA's) Therubali operations in Rayagada district.

IMFA's operations at its Therubali unit have come to a halt since April 23 after a horde of outsiders gheraoed the plant premises, stalling movement of workers.

"The situation continues till date and a serious loss of life and property is apprehended. This has also impacted the livelihood of nearly 1500 workers. We therefore urge upon your administration to kindly intervene appropriately so that normalcy could be restored, enabling the plant to restart operations and run smoothly”, Ficci president Rashesh Shah stated in a letter to the chief minister.

Shah said, IMFA as one of the important constituents of Ficci in Odisha, is contributing to the peripheral development of the place through its CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives, including setting up educational and vocational training centres.

Even after a fortnight of disruption, the ongoing impasse at IMFA's Therubali unit shows no sign of abatement. 

As a remedy to break the impasse, Union minister for petroleum & natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan had appealed to Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata to prevail upon the chief minister to end the crisis. Tata visited Odisha earlier this week in connection with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishment of a high-end cancer hospital and conferment of entitlements to urban slum dwellers, a first of its kind initiative by the state government.

In a series of tweets, Pradhan said, Tata being the doyen of India Inc and witness to similar stand off at Singur which triggered the ouster of his Tata Motors Nano manufacturing unit could appreciate the situation.

"The stand-off at Therubali has  resulted in a lock-out in plant and has arisen out of State vendetta & misperceived short term gains. This shall send negative signals to industrialization process & investor climate in the State apart from fomenting Left Wing extremism in Rayagada. The plant was established by the visionary Odia industrialist Banshidhar Panda in 1961 and more than 1500 locals are directly dependent for their livelihood on this plant”, the minister tweeted.

IMFA in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange on April 24, had apprised the bourse on an agitation started by a large group of people brought in from far flung areas. The outsiders staged the stir without any prior notice or demand, barring entry of IMFA's employees into the Therubali plant premises. The company was forced to shut down its furnaces as all subsequent shifts went unmanned.

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