Wokers launch fresh blockade in Rourkela

Rourkela: Workers of a refractory unit and their family members launched a fresh road blockade on NH-23 at Lathikata near here today even as 224 arrested persons, including Independent MLA George Tirkey, staged a hunger strike in jail.

Two days after their road blockade was cleared by police, about 300 Orind workers and family members again took to the street with a fresh blockade on NH-23, Inspector in-charge of Lathikata police station G C Sahu said.

Police personnel in strength have been sent to the area to prevent any untoward situation and maintain law and order, police said.

Meanwhile, the 224 persons, including Biramitrapur legislator George Tirkey were forwarded to court and sent to jail on judicial remand for two weeks, sources said adding they had been arrested on Friday by police to clear the road.

Tirkey and others lodged in the special jail here have launched a hunger strike inside the prison in support of the demand for payment of wages to Orind workers for the last 14 months and payment of statutory benefit to retired, deceased and resigned employees.

Jail Superintendent Sarangadhara Bhoi said Tirkey and others refused to take food and threatened to observe fast till their demand was fulfilled.

A lockout had been declared in May in the factory where production had stopped several months ago with workers claiming non-payment of wages and other dues for last 14 months.