Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Report on the Condition of Workers in Asansol

We found a report on the condition of workers in Asansol. It not only exposed the myth of 'Development by Industrialization', but also presented a very serious approach. We believe it would encourage us to study our society in dialectical and materialistic way.

A Report on Condition of Workers in Asansol

Sudipta Paul

The wheel of industrialization of West Bengal is running very fast with frequent closure of many industries. It does not allow any resistance through out the path of industrialization. The movement against the closure of industries, the scarcity of land, militant movement of the land losers, demand of job of land losers, demand of minimum wages and other facilities etc - whatever happens it is running smoothly at any cost. It's true that with industrialization a number of people will get jobs. One new industrialist of Asansol, Paban Ghugutia said in an interview with a correspondent of "Ananda Bazar Patrika": "Suppose an industry is built up. Unemployed youths will get the jobs. They will earn money. Economic status of the workers will be changed. They will go to market to buy the necessary commodities. Then there will be some sort of economic transactions. So with increase of industry, the life of human beings will also develop." In the course of the economic development, a number of new industrial estates are developing in last fifteen to sixteen years in Asansol area. Mangalpur and Kannyapur are two of them in the Asansol Subdivision. There is also a plan to develop industrial estates adjacent to 55 KM area of G. T. Road from Durgapur to Barakar. Let's see how much industrialization has taken place and how much employment has been generated at the two industrial estates in the field of closed industrial areas of Asansol.

Before 80's, renowned Hindusthan Pilkinton Glass Factory was closed. After that Bengal Paper Mill was closed. From 90's the closing of the industries took an acceleration and within last fifteen years a number of industries have been closed very rapidly.
We give a list of closed industries with manpower.

Hindusthan Pilkinton Glass factory -1600
Bengal Paper Mill -1500
Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd. -3000
Burn & Co. 1&2 -1400
Cycle Corporation -3000
Indian Iron and Steel Company (Kulty)-3000

Nearly 15000 workers have lost job due to closure of industry. This is only reported and available data of closed industry. There are a number of unreported and unregistered industries which have been closed. The residential area of those industries is becoming abandoned almost. Most of the workers left their companies' quarters to their homeland or went to other places like Kolkata and also Asansol proper in search of their lively hood. A vast area of Kulty Works of IISCO has become a ghost area. The fifth largest Golf Ground of Kulty is remaining in unused condition. However, within the short distance of 250-300 meters a new township is developing surrounding Kulty College which was mostly a forest area. The residential area of the workers of the glass factory is in the same condition. The officers quarters became abundant. But the families of the workers, who have no alternative are remaining in the damaged quarters of the company. Near about 200 families are spending their life in a very miserable condition. Most of the next generation of glass factory workers are day labours or unemployed. Third generation of these families are mostly illiterate due to poverty. One jute mill owner bought the 150 bigha of land of glass factory including the area of quarters at a paltry sum of 4.05 crores. He wants to evict the workers families. But the people unitedly made resistance against the displacement without the banner of any political party one and half years back. This glass factory colony is also a subsidence prone area due to the unscientific coal mining according to the official record of coal company.

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