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Wednesday 4 January 2012

Labour protest hits work at Lepetkata

Labour protest hits work at Lepetkata

The BCPL construction site at Lepetkata. File picture
Jorhat, Jan. 3: Construction at the Gas Cracker project at Lepetkata in Dibrugarh district under the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd (BCPL) came to a standstill today after labourers protested against stringent measures imposed by the authorities to instil work culture in an attempt to halt the slowdown in progress of the work.
The labourers protested against the new timings, shouted slogans and refused to work. The impasse was resolved after the management held discussions with the contractors, who have engaged the labourers. Work is scheduled to begin from tomorrow.
The progress of work had fallen from an average of 4 per cent per month to 2.4 per cent in December as a result of which the BCPL authorities had made a rule for labourers — come to work at 9.30am in winter and leave at 5.30pm with a one-hour lunch break from 1pm to 2pm.
This was, however, opposed by the workers on various pleas. They cited various reasons, including cold weather and came to work between 10am and 11am when they were barred from entering by CISF personnel deputed at the gate.
Addressing reporters in Dibrugarh today, chief operating officer, BCPL, P.N. Prasad, said the confusion had been cleared after talks with the contractors under whom the labourers were working. He said the rule could be relaxed only during an emergency.
Prasad expressed concern over the delay in progress of work and said the workers had gone slow in December by coming to work late and leaving early on the excuse that buses did not ply after 4pm. They also give Ill health as an excuse and often disappeared.
He said whereas in other places 3,500-4,000 workers completed 3.5 per cent of work in a month, here, 7,500 labourers had been engaged.
“The labourers here did not work for more than three to four hours and the regulations had to be imposed so that work did not suffer. This was a matter of concern but we are ready to tackle such issues,” Prasad said.
The progressin the Rs 9,285-crore gas cracker project is satisfactory as it is slightly ahead of schedule with 59.1 per cent being completed in December 2011 against the predicted 58.2 per cent. This was because of less rainfall last year. Work had begun on the project from April 2007 and was scheduled to begin production by December 2013. The technical progress is expected to be completed on July 13, 2013.

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