MAC: Mines and Communities

Bharat Gold Mines Workers Step Up Stir

Published by MAC on 2006-09-26
Source: The Hindu

Bharat Gold Mines workers step up stir

Special Correspondent, The Hindu

26th September 2006

BANGALORE: A large section of workers belonging to the sick Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) have stepped up their agitation demanding revival of the mines by planning a bandh in Kolar on September 27.

"The Government should consider the proposal of Global Gold Mines Industrial Cooperative Society Ltd formed by 2,858 workers to take over the mines since it has given all the four offers of Modified Voluntary Retirement Scheme, resuming mining operations with all the 3,100 workers using available technology at BGML and no open-cast mining at Kolar township," said V.J.K. Nair, General Secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) that is backing the bandh.

Mr. Nair alleged that a rival "bogus society" floated by an officer Divakaran with the tacit support of a local politician from Kolar was scuttling the revival process by adopting "dubious means to pull the strings with the Central Government." This had led to delay in submitting to the Centre the status report prepared by the Deputy Commissioner of Kolar in February this year verifying the authenticity of the Global Gold Mines Industrial Cooperative Society Ltd.

As a result, the Union Cabinet at a meeting held on July 27, 2006 took certain decisions to pave the way for the smooth closure of the mines. However, Mr. Nair said that the Cabinet decision could not be implemented until the High Court approved the winding up of the company.

The workers are now pinning hopes on the High Court that had earlier recommended that the mines be given to a cooperative society formed by the workers. Moreover, though the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) had ordered closure of the mines, the Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (AAFIR) had found that the revival of the mines was "financially viable."

Following intense pressure from the workers, the Deputy Commissioner of Kolar had submitted the verification report to the Commerce and Industries Ministry, Government of Karnataka, on September 7 for onward submission to the Centre.

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