Labour Unions, Tribals’Association oppose protests at IMFA

Rayagada: As the local tribals’ agitation entered the second day today in front of the Therubali plant of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) in Rayagada district, three labour unions and  district tribals’ association today took to streets to meet the district magistrate protesting the ongoing agitation at the plant.

As per sources, over hundreds of labourers led by a six-member delegation of all the four unions met the district collector demanding withdrawal of the agitation by the local tribals.

The agitators meanwhile claimed that they would withdraw the strike if the plant authorities fulfil their demands today.

On the other hand, Rayagada District Adivasi Mahasangh president Apuluswami Kadraka criticising the protest said demands of agitators are being fulfilled by the company in phases. “Some outsiders are protesting to serve their interests. The protest is a conspiracy against Baijayant Panda,” he added.

However, the IMFA authorities through a letter issued yesterday informed that no fixed deadline to fulfil the demands was agreed upon during the tripartite meeting held last month.

Despite work in progress, if locals are still holding agitation outside the plant, then there must be some other reason behind this, the authorities alleged.

The IMFA authorities stated that they are working on the points agreed upon mutually and revealed the status of all the works reflected in the tripartite meeting.

“Approval has been taken to run DDUGKY skill development center in our ITI campus and enlarge the scope of skill development center by introducing ‘Hospitality’, ‘Management’ as a new faculty to train at least 35 students in a batch. Accordingly, the infrastructural renovation work in progress and expected to be completed in September this year,” the letter read.

The letter further stated, “Admission process is still open in KG-1(entry level) as   per the prescribed guidelines of RTE Act-2009 in CVT. We are going to launch IMFA Scholarship scheme very shortly. The draft copy of Scholarship scheme containing details of modalities and procedures has been sent to our Corporate Office, Bhubaneswar for final approval.”

On the procurement of new ambulance, IMFA stated, “We have already placed the purchase order for procurement of a new ambulance, which will be delivered by the vendor latest by July 30, 2018. The new ambulance will be provided for the peripheral villages in case of medical emergency.”

This apart, the authorities have identified six locations with the help of local sarapanches for installation of solar lights. The water project having an overhead tank of 3000 ltr storage capacity in Burjuguda village is likely to be completed by July 30, 2018.

“We have provided and maintained the rest shed for women employees with basic amenities. We have also provided the toilet facilities for the women employees and planning construction of additional toilets inside the premises within a period of three months,” the authorities added.

Later in the evening, a discussion, which was held between the sub-collector, SDPO and the agitators at the Therubali Police Station, ended inconclusively. According to sources, the collector has also called for a meeting of the concerned parties to resolve the issue.