Durgapur News Service, 04 September 2014: Extortion by Trinamool Congress workers and leaders has created a sense of annoyance among several factory owners of Durgapur who supply spare parts and raw materials to Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP).
Kripal Singh, the president of the Durgapur Small Industries’ Association, alleged that the Trinamool workers refused to allow trucks into the DSP complex if the drivers did not give in to their extortion demands. They have to shell out amounts between Rs 150 and Rs 250, depending on the truck’s size to the Trinamool party workers before being allowed to enter inside the DSP plant premises, alleged Mr. Singh.
Factory owners said they had met Burdwan INTTUC president Prabhat Chatterjee and Durgapur mayor Apurba Mukherjee several times to complain about the “strong-arm tactics” of party workers, but the scenario remains the same. Both the leaders advised them to tackle the situation on their own.
“We told them that it would not be possible for us to approach police as the extortionists are ruling party workers and we have to run our business here,” Mr. Kripal Singh said.
Burdwan INTTUC president Prabhat Chatterjee however denied the allegation against the Trinamool workers.
“I enquired and found out that no Trinamool worker is involved in extortion. I have told the factory owners to lodge a police complaint,” he said.
The association members met senior DSP officials and urged them to stop the extortion. The officials, however, pleaded helplessness, saying the incident was taking place outside the plant premises.
They also approached the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who are posted at the factory gates. CISF officials told them that they are responsible for security inside the plant compound only.
Today “The Telegraph” reported that when its correspondent visited the DSP plant gate in Tamla area yesterday, he saw hundreds of trucks queued up outside the Tamla Gate. A man in a green T-shirt who identified himself as Kalu and claimed to be an INTTUC member was seen collecting money from each truck.
When the Telegraph correspondent asked Kalu, why the drivers were paying him, he said: “It is the rule here. If any loaded truck wants to enter the plant, our union will have to be paid.” Kalu said trucks bringing silico and ferro manganese from other states were charged Rs 300 each.
When Telegraph reporter asked which union he belonged to, Kalu said: “Trinamool.”
At a time when Bengal is struggling to attract investment in the form of setting up of new industries, incidents like this will perhaps make things more agonizing.