Unpaid Mangalam Timber factory workers in Odisha stare at uncertainty

Nabarangpur: Workers of Mangalam Timber Products factory, the only industrial unit in Nabarangpur district, are facing a harrowing time and have not received salary for the past five months.

Due to unavailability of raw materials, fall in production and pending electricity bills, the factory established in 1987 has remained closed for the past eight months, raising serious doubts over its revival.

“My son is studying and I cannot afford his study expenses. We are staying in dark as power supply is provided for limited hours. We are living in a pitiful condition,” said wife of an employee staying in staff quarters of the factory.

“We work here to get our remuneration but for the past five months we have not received our salaries. We have apprised the company’s Nabarangpur general manager and the District Labour Officer about the issue, but nothing has been done. While some workers are sustaining themselves by withdrawing money from the provident fund, others are taking loans by mortgaging valuables,” said K Purusottam, leader of the workers’ association.

Meanwhile, the factory’s general manager Niranjan Behera said the issue will be resolved in two-three months after holding discussions with the company management.

“The company’s financial condition is very poor due to loan burden and low production. Somehow the factory is running, but there have been no layoffs. At the higher level discussions are on and within a month or two things will stabilise,” said the general manager.

The district administration has also assured to look into the matter.

“As the company has been suffering from financial instability, the management has decided to close the factory. We will hold discussions with the company officials about reopening of the plant,” said Parikhita Sethi, additional collector of Nabarangpur.