SP, DM told to submit report on law and order over Haldia logjam

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police of East Midnapore district to submit a report by Friday on what action was taken by them on the complaint, if any, filed by ABG Shipyard. The firm had alleged that it cannot function at the Haldia dock for the last one month due to labour unrest. Justice Dipankar Dutta also directed the officer-in-charge of local police station to file a report.

Samaraditya Pal, the counsel of the company, alleged that the firm's employees were assaulted at Haldia dock on several occasions. The trade unions and outsiders created disturbance at the dock for last few months but the police failed to restore normalcy there, said Pal.

Jayanta Mitra, counsel of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), said though no one can deny that there has been some trouble at the dock, the situation, however, is not grave. According to Mitra, the incident took place inside the dock, which is manned by the personnel of the CISF. Therefore, the police could not take action there, he said. But Justice Dutta wanted to know why the police did not enter the area as law and order is the state affair. Meanwhile, the counsel of the CISF said it was the duty of the force to "protect the property of the KoPT" and it cannot investigate into the incidents.

In 2009, ABG Haldia Bulk Terminal Private Limited, a subsidiary of ABG Shipyard, entered into the contract with the KoPT for handling the cargoes at berth no 2 and 8 of the Haldia dock. The company commenced its operation from September 2010 and subsequently modernised the two berth to increase the capacity of cargo handling. The move was, however, protested by labour unions citing loss of jobs.

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