HYDERABAD:It has been 10 days, since Gitanjali Gems located in a special economic zone in the outskirts of the city was sealed by the Enforcement Directorate after a massive financial fraud committed by its promoter Mehul Choksi came to light. It’s only now that the SEZ officials have found time to hear the woes of the 600-odd employees who have lost their jobs since the company went under.
The assistant development commissioner of SEZ, G Lakshmi Narsaiah held a meeting with Gitanjali Gems employees in the DLF building on Thursday. The staff members explained their demands before the official. They explained that their Provident Fund and salary dues are pending to be paid by the company’s contractor who had hired them and demanded alternative jobs in other diamond units in the zone. They also submitted a written complaint to the commissioner in this regard.
Gitanjali Gems was established in 2005. It was allotted 171 acres of land for setting up of a Gems Special Economic Zone. The workers said that two contractors had recruited them for the job. Among the 600-odd members, 235 are persons with disabilities. They sought immediate intervention by the State government to ensure that they get alternative jobs.
“We don’t have any other source of income to run the family,” says former employee K Rajitha. “We worked hard for the company, for it to reach a certain position. But now production has stopped, stock and materials have been seized by probe agencies and these HR officials are asking us to collect experience letters without settling our provident funds and other benefits,” she says while questioning who would give them a job just based on an experience letter.
HR head of the company Laxminarayana says the experience letters were being issued so that the employees could immediately look elsewhere for jobs. “We are also initiating the process for PF to be paid into all of their accounts within the next three months,” he claims. “We have issued orders to both our contractors —Sneha Synergy Solutions and Trident Services —to clear pending salary dues of the employees and provide alternative employment to them. If they fail to pay the employees within a certain time, we will take legal action against them. The issue is sensitive and we are discussing with the government how to solve the issue,” he added.
41 properties of Mehul Choksi attached
On Thursday, Enforcement Directorate said it had attached a total 41 properties of the Gitanjali Gems’ promoter Mehul Choksi. This includes the 170-acre gems park in Ranga Reddy district.