Home Politics Bengal industrial unit complains of threats, extortion demands

Bengal industrial unit complains of threats, extortion demands

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Kolkata, July 18 (IANS) A leading industrial group, which is setting up a Rs.9,900 crore steel plant and a captive power plant in West Bengal’s Burdwan district, has complained of threats and extortion demands by criminals allegedly affiliated to the ruling Trinamool Congress.

The Shyam Group of Industries, which now runs the 0.5 million tonnes per annum steel plant alongside a captive power plant at Jamuria, has intimated the chief minister’s office as also Industries Minister Amit

itra and Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak of the threats and ransom demands.

The complaint to the Jamuria police station spoke of “life threat” to the senior officials, ransom demands, and “creating nuisance” at the plant premises and the railway siding.

“We would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that some anti-social elements are disturbing our plant operation and also influencing the localites to create nuisance inside our plant premises,” said the police complaint filed Wednesday.

The complaint specifically named two youths, who are local leaders of the Trinamool Congress.

“They have also threatened the life of our senior officials. These two fellows are not only threatening us but also asking for undue advantages in the form of ransom and special privileges,” said the complaint lodged by a senior company official.

The group vice president R.K. Chakraborty said: “The youths have been creating disturbances for the past two-three months on di

ifferent issues. We have spoken to everyone, but the disturbances did not stop. So we were forced to report it.

“We have also intimated to the chief minister that some persons opposed to development are creating the disturbances. If they continue to do it, the party’s image will take a beating,” he said.

However, one of the two youths named in the police complaint – Aloke Das – denied having made any ransom demands. “If anybody can show any evidence of extortion, police and administration will take steps. But they have not made any written complaint about me to police about extortion.”

The first phase of the three-stage project – slated to produce 1.1 MTPA steel once complete – was made operational in 2008 by injecting Rs.1,500 crore. The expansion for the second phase was set to start after the Durga puja festival in October.

However, Chakraborty said the expansion work would be severely hit if the disturbances did not stop.

Company sources alleged that the ruling party leaders were “interfering” in all company activities like deployment of the workforce, loading and unloading of goods at the railway siding, and stalling work.

“As a result, we are unable to bring raw materials and take out the finished products. The production has been nearly halved over the last few days,” the sources said.

Chakrabroty said the company “could not and would not” cave in to “unreasonable” demands.

But Labour Minister Ghatak denied that any Trinamool worker is involved in the disturbances.

“I have not received any such report. The reality is some local villagers have given a deputation to the company that locals have to be absorbed for unloading and unloading at the railway siding.”

The Shyam Group of Industries – one of the front runners in the iron and steel sector in the eastern region and amongst the largest manufacturers of ferro alloys in the country – has diversified into several core infrastructure sector

s such as power cement, logistics and industrial parks. The group, with a turnover of more than Rs.3,500 crores, provides direct-indirect employment to over 14,000 people.

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