Vedanta workers hopeful of better days

Kalahandi: The lifestyle of Kendu Majhi, a contract labourer at Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery in the district, has changed, literally. These days instead of going to work, he is busy helping his five-member family to make ends meet. Reason, he has lost his job two months back.

This is not a solo case. Like Majhi, many other job losers are residing in the Niyamgiri slope who venture into the forest to collect firewood on a daily basis. The sell it in the local market only to get their daily needs.

The situation is unlikely to improve in the near future, given the recent employee attrition decision of the company which is yet to get raw material for its 1 MTPA aluminium refinery from the State government.

“We operated the plant at half of its capacity for a long period. Still the State government has not been able to assure us for a long term bauxite supply for the plant. How will we run the plant minus raw material,” asked a company official.

“Besides, the prevailing situation compelled us to take a decision on employee attrition,” he stated adding that re-appointment of the workers is possible only in case the company gets raw material from within the State.

The labourers are too hopeful to get back their old days as plant employees.

“We can only hope that the company will get raw materials from the State government to run the plant in which it has invested crores of rupees,” Majhi said.

Meanwhile, adding woe to the existing contractual labourers, the London-listed company has reduced the number of working days in the plant from 30 to 20.