Jute mill reopens after five years, no staff retrenched
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At a time when most news on the economic front is depressing, there is a glimmer hope. A jute mill in Kanpur reopened after five years on Monday, bringing cheer to its 3,500 employees.
When the gates of Juggilal Kamlapat (JK) Jute Mill opened on Monday morning, employees burst crackers and danced in celebration. The management announced a Diwali bonus of Rs 1,000.
Crippled by financial losses worth Rs 41 crore, the JK Group had closed down the mill on June 21, 2003. Set up in 1954, it manufactured conventional jute goods, including hessian and sacking. The mill's fortunes turned after Kolkata-based Sarda group and Mall group jointly bought it over. Their company, Rainey Parks Suppliers Private Limited (RPSPL) now owns the mill. The mill was restarted after an agreement was reached between the new management and seven workers' unions.
For Pramod Kumar Pandey, a tailor in the stitching section since 1997, the mill's reopening is a dream come true. He never thought the mill would actually reopen. When his nine-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer of the throat, Pandey thought he would not be able to get him treated. Now he is more optimistic.
Another employee, Pradeep Kumar, worked as a labourer in Transport Nagar by the day and sold vegetables in the evening to eke out a living. With three daughters and a son to support, making ends meet was difficult. "My eldest daughter Monika was married in April, and I have to repay heavy loans," he said. The mill will now provide a regular source of income.
General manager of the mill, Lalit Mohan Agarwal said, "Work will start in a phased manner. The mill will function at full capacity by December 2008," he said. The company has set aside Rs 15 crore to repair and restore the mill's rusty equipment.
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