KASARAGOD: Almost three months after chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated KEL-Electrical Machines Restricted (KEL-EML) after taking it over from the Union authorities, the machines of the unit in Kasaragod are nonetheless silent.
The unit obtained orders price Rs 74 lakh to make 5 160 kV alternators — mills that convert mechanical power to electrical power — diesel mills and spares. “However neither do we now have sufficient uncooked materials nor working machines to fabricate them,” mentioned Ragesh Kumar, an worker and chief of INTUC, the Congress-affiliated commerce union.
In a assessment assembly chaired by minister for industries P Rajeev on June 2, principal secretary P M Mohammed Hanish mentioned 40% of the overall 120 staff don’t have any job within the unit. In the present day, the corporate has solely 99 staff. “And virtually all of them are sitting idle. We come within the morning and go away within the night. If that is how they’re planning to run the unit, it would shut store quickly,” mentioned Kumar.
In November, the unit gave its laptop numerical management (CNC), which controls complicated machines similar to lathes, and vertical turning machines for upkeep. “Eight months on, the essential machines are nonetheless beneath restore,” mentioned V Pavitharan, one other worker and vice-president of INTUC within the unit.
To start with, the federal government ought to have centered on appointing an in a position managing director, who would steer the manufacturing unit out of the difficulty, and second, present working capital to the unit.
Within the assembly held in Thiruvananthapuram, the managing director of Kerala Electrical & Allied Engineering Co. Ltd (KEL) Col (retired) Shaji Varghese mentioned a full-time director or a managing director ought to be appointed at its subsidiary KEL-EML. The stakeholders agreed to nominate a senior worker of KEL because the unit head in Kasaragod.
Nobody ought to sit idle: Minister
Responding to industries division principal secretary Hanish, minister Rajeeve mentioned no worker ought to be allowed to sit down idle.
Based on the minutes of the assembly, the minister known as for rationalising the workers primarily based on manufacturing. “Workers’ salaries ought to come from the manufacturing unit’s revenue,” he mentioned and informed his officers that the unit ought to be “working in full capability by July-August”.
When contacted, Varghese mentioned a brand new unit would take time to run at full capability and mentioned it was anticipating new orders from the Railways. The stakeholders additionally agreed to nominate an MBA graduate with experience in advertising and marketing to search out new shoppers and marketplace for KEL-EML’s merchandise.
In his report introduced on the assembly, KEL MD Varghese mentioned KEL-EML was more likely to finish FY2022 with a turnaround of Rs 12.32 crore. Public Sector Restructuring and Inside Audit Board (RIAB) chairman Ashok R requested KEL-EML to furnish particulars of orders the unit was anticipated to win.
As advisable by RIAB, the chief minister introduced a Rs 77-crore revival package deal for KEL-EML after its takeover, and sanctioned Rs 20 crore on April 1, when he inaugurated the unit.
Varghese mentioned a lot of the Rs 20 crore was spent on clearing the liabilities of the workers.
Workers of the federal government cleared the wage dues until March 2020. From March 2020 to April 2022, when the unit remained shut first due to covid lockdown after which for lack of working capital or work order, the federal government agreed to pay 35% of the wage. “The choice to pay solely 35% of the salaries was pressured on staff and but the administration has not launched the quantity,” mentioned Ragesh Kumar. The administration has additionally withheld 10% of gratuity and wage dues of retired staff, he mentioned.
Of the Rs 20 crore, round Rs 6.5 crore was spent on clearing dues of the workers, Rs 2.5 crore was spent on bettering the infrastructure and round 3.25 crore was spent on clearing dues of the shoppers, mentioned an official. “Round 8 crore has not been spent but,” he mentioned.
When contacted, Varghese didn’t share the main points of the fund utilization however mentioned: “To the very best of my data (there may be) no unspent quantity”.
Workers mentioned the federal government hard-bargained with shoppers and repaid solely a portion of what was owed to them as a one-time settlement. “However we now have to depend upon the identical shoppers. Now they’re demanding money upfront earlier than delivering uncooked materials,” mentioned one other worker.