Lone glass factory downs shutters
By Biju E Paul | Published: 12th December 2012 10:57 AM |
The lone glass factory in the state, Excel Glasses Ltd, has downed shutters, leaving about 1,000 employees in deep trouble. The management was forced to close down the factory after heavy losses incurred by the company, and the rising overheads on electricity and raw materials.
Located in Pathirapally, Excel Glasses Ltd had the distinction of being the only glass factory in the state.
The company management said that apart from the heavy losses, shortage of silica, the main raw material in glass construction of glass had led to the present crisis and put the company in the dock. The functioning of the furnace on the factory premises ceased earlier this week. Officials of the company said that the price of glass had also come down drastically, making the situation worse for the company.
Earlier, the company had been closed for nearly four years, before being reopened in September 2011. The company management had taken a loan of around `14 crore from the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC) for the reopening.
Excel Glasses Employees Association president R Nazar blamed the callous attitude of the government for the dire straits the company and its employees were in. “The state government is responsible for the closure of the factory. The previous LDF Government had made an agreement with the factory management to distribute silica sand from Pallippuram at `70 per tonne. But the UDF Government did not renew the agreement and the rates were hiked to `1,600. It came as a bolt from the blue for the company and forced the shutdown,” he said.
“This is the only glass factory in the state. About 450 permanent employees and 650 contractual labourers depended for survival on the factory. Considering this, the LDF Government had agreed to provide silica sand to the management at nominal rates. But the issues between the UDF leaders and the management forced the closure of the factory. The company had slow down the functioning of the furnace. More than `40 lakh was needed just to stop the furnace. The melted glass inside the furnace had to be removed to prevent the `6-crore worth furnace from getting damaged,” Nazar said.
The factory was engaged in constructing bottles and jars for liquor, food items and medicine. Bottles of various sizes and colour printing were being manufactured by the company owned by the Somani Group, based in Maharashtra.