BHEL employees receive ₹10,000 as relief amount

Official says company will re-open in a phased manner

After years of struggle and uncertainty, it was a huge relief for the employees of Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), who received ₹10,000 in their bank account for the first time after the State government bought the company shares from the Central government.

The amount, which was deposited in their bank account on the day of Onam, gave hope for 142 employees, who are feeling dejected over the delay in re-starting the company and paying salary arrears, which has been pending for 36 months now.

However, a senior employee in the production department said the relief amount was less compared with what was given last year by the company to the employee before the takeover when they received ₹15,000.

V. Pavithran, vice president, INTUC, said that the company had gone into loss not because of the workers but due to the mismanagement by senior officials.

Due to the delay in re-starting the company, all the workers were suffering. Even though the re-opening of the company had been included in the 100 days of the action plan by the CPI(M)-led government, there was no official word on it until now. The government should immediately take measures to re-open the company and pay all the benefits including the salary arrears, he said.

The State government had finished the process of acquiring the shares and the company had also completed the internal auditing. Now, an external auditing had to be completed to formally finish the registration process, said another senior employee, on condition of anonymity.

He said the company had a liability of ₹40 crore and once the registration was over, the company would re-open in a phased manner.

After the share transfer process, which was approved by the Central government on May 11, the State government constituted a six-member board of directors and appointed Mohammad Haneesh, Principal Secretary, Department of Industries, as the chairman and managing director.

The government has also sanctioned ₹20 crore on a request by the company to pay the salary arrears of the employees, benefits to the retired employees, and settle the PF arrears.

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