Jajpur, Feb 27 (LocalWire): The state government has recently handed over the state’s only jute mill in Jajpur district to Orissa Stevedores Limited (OSL), sealing the fate of many workers of the mill and giving a death blow to the jute cultivation in the state.
In an auction, in 2010, OSL purchased the Konark jute mill at Dhanmandal under Barachana block at the cost of Rs 33 crores.
But the mill was not handed over to OSL as the mill had not cleared the loan amount of many banks and financial organizations.
However, all the hurdles in handing over the mill to OSL were cleared on 17th February, for which the government handed over the mill to OSL.
After taking possession of the jute mill, we began stocking iron pellets in the mill area to supply them to other states, said B. K. Ojha, the vice-president of OSL, Paradip.
The fate of around 2500 workers of the closed Konark jute mill is hanging in balance after the mill was handed over to OSL, alleged many former workers of the jute mill.
“I was earning Rs 8000 a month, but the mill had been closed in 2007 and authorities have failed to reopen the mill.
The state government promised many times to reopen the mill.
But the government failed to keep its promise as the state government sold away the mill to a private company,” said a dejected Ranjan Samal (60), a former worker of the mill.
This jute mill was established in 1972 by the state government covering 86 acres of land at Dhanamandal to help the large numbers of jute growers of Jajpur, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur districts. It was once the backbone and most important sector for the rural economy of the areas.
We organized many meetings of the former workers and others to press the government to reopen the mill.
It is not only the workers have been deprived of their livelihood, but also the jute growers and others who have been hit hard after the mill was handed over to OSL, said Akhil Behera, a former worker of the mill.
Some of the finest jute fabrics were manufactured in this mill.
I was saddened to learn that the jute mill was transferred to OSL.
If a requiem is to be sung, it is for this jute mill, said Anirudha Baral, a former worker of the mill.
During the last assembly and parliamentary elections, sundry political party leaders had promised to revive the sick jute mill to garner votes of the locals and jute farmers.
But after the elections, they failed to keep their promises, said Manohara Lenka (55), a former worker of the mill.
The sale of the jute mill to OSL has also stirred up a political storm in the district.
Many trade union leaders and politicians have raised a stink over the sale of the 86-acre jute mill to OSL for only Rs 33 crores.
The state government had assured workers many times in the past to hand over the mill to a private organization to run the mill.
But now the OSL started to convert the mill area as a storehouse for iron pellets for which the state’s only jute mill was completely shut down.
The government also sold the jute mill at a throwaway price to OSL with an ulterior motive, said Gautam Ray, the president of the district unit of BJP.