KOCHI: The fate of Hindustan Insecticides Ltd (HIL)’s Udyogamandal unit in Kerala has been sealed, with the company deciding to close it by Tuesday, marking the end of the public sector undertaking’s 69-year presence in Kerala.
Established in 1954, HIL plant is the second central PSU in Kerala, following the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT), which is also based in Udyogamandal.
In addition to the Udyogamandal unit, HIL has also chosen to shut down its Bathinda unit in Punjab.
A letter from the company’s head office in New Delhi stated, “The board (of directors) has approved the closure of operations of all the plants at Udyogamandal and the Bathinda unit of HIL (India) Ltd on or before 10.10.2023 (October 10). Consequently, the unit heads of Udyogamandal and Bathinda units may initiate action for the closure of the units.”
With the closure decision, the future of 44 employees at the Udyogamandal unit is uncertain.
“There is no official decision so far on the VRS or other package for the remaining employees,” said a trade union leader.
Further, the employees have not been paid their salary for the last 11 months, he said.
HIL’s Udyogamandal unit had around 74 regular employees, with 30 of them being transferred to its Rasayani unit in Maharashtra about one and a half years ago.
It is likely that HIL will consider a strategic sale for the Rasayani unit at a later stage, following an earlier plan.
Until 2015, the HIL Udyogamandal unit had been the most profitable unit of HIL.
However, a trade union leader explained that a ban on endosulfan and the decision to close the DDT, BHC, and dicofol plants in 2018 led to the PSU’s crisis.
HIL possesses 34.27 acres of freehold land and an additional 8.95 acres in its colony. The company also holds 13.98 acres of leased land in its colony.
The union leader said the state government should take over HIL’s Udyogamandal unit and revive it.
The state government had earlier acquired central PSUs in Kerala viz., Hindustan Newsprint Ltd at Velloor (now Kerala Paper Products Ltd) and BHEL-Electrical Mechanics Ltd. Kasaragod (now KEL-EML).
“A similar strategy should be adopted here too, and we have suggested this to Industries Minister P Rajeeve,” the union leader said.