Chit fund kingpin Sudipto Sen’s automobile company Global Automobiles Ltd (GAL), which he bought from Santanu Ghosh’s Xenitis Group in 2010, remained largely unproductive in the past three years, it is learnt.
The only motorcycles GAL assembled in the Chinsurah plant in West Bengal’s Hooghly district was sent to Kolkata Police, while a few bikes assembled here were distributed in Maoist-affected Jangalmahal as part of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dole to school students.
For most of the past three years, the workers diligently assembled motorcycles, then dismantled them and again reassembled. This was the system followed to keep its 150 workers busy as Sudipto used GAL as one of the many front companies to hide his thriving chit fund business.
With the future of the company hanging in the balance, its workers have resorted to hunger strike to get the state govt’s attention.
“What is our fault? We followed instructions. We were told to assemble motorcycles but as soon as we took them off the conveyor belts, we were asked to dismantle and reassemble them. Even the factory managers have ran away on Wednesday,” said 35-year-old Irshad Alam, who worked as a fork-lifter at the company.
After buying it from Ghosh in 2010, the company hasn’t met any of the orders. Dealers from Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have long been waiting for their orders or a refund of their money.
The Automobile Dealers Association of Uttar Pradesh had filed a complaint against GAL in 2011 with the Competition Commission of India (CCI), a copy of which is with Express.
“...since the takeover of GAL by Saradha Group in November 2010, till date (3.7.2012) only 611 two-wheelers have been dispatched (by it) and no production or manufacturing activity is stated to be currently taking place. Further, we also take note of the fact that the name of GAL does not figure in the list of two-wheeler manufacturers in India as per the information available with the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers,” the CCI observed.
“We want to work and deliver the pending orders but how do we do it now, with the management missing? Everyone is talking about the chit fund scam but what about us and our families? We haven’t received salary since January and even the state government doesn’t care about us,” said Anirban Poddar, another worker at the factory. Despite repeated pleas, the workers so far could not meet Mamata.