Anti-govt slogans greet Partha at Haldia

Out of job, labourers say govt enacting drama by hosting trade fair at port town.

Slogans against Trinamool Congress greeted Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee when he reached Haldia on Tuesday to meet district administration officers over the proposed trade fair Bengal Leads to be hosted at the port town.

Interestingly, those who chanted slogans against the minister belonged to Trinamool-backed labour union, INTTUC, who were retrenched by the cargo-handling firm HBT after it decided to pull out from the Haldia dock.

"Shilpo Patike Tariye Shilpo Mela Kar Sarthe.. Shilpomantri Partha Chatterjee Dur Hatao (After forcing the industry out, for whom is the trade fair... Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee get out)," a group of the 38 freshly-retrenched labourers shouted.

Sheikh Siraj, one of the retrenched workers of HBT, said after the cargo-handling firm's pull out the industry minister is creating a drama by inviting industrialists at the trade fair, which will be hosted at the Helipad ground in Manjushree in Haldia this month.

The state government is not bothered about the welfare of the labourers who have been retrenched because of HBT's exit, said the workers who are now keen to leave INTTUC and join Congress-backed Haldia Bandar O Shilpo Bachao Committee.

All the retrenched labourers are more likely to join the rally to be organised by the Congress party on November 8 against the state government's alleged failure to provide proper security inside the dock complex that led to the firms' pull out from Haldia port.

Siraj said the state government "deliberately created an atmosphere which led to HBT's exit."

On November 12, all the 623 retrenched labourers 348 who lost their jobs after the firm pulled out and 275 of those who were laid off by the company earlier will hold a roadshow at Haldia demanding that HBT should resume its operations at Haldia immediately after convening a meeting with KOPT and the state government.

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