ROURKELA: Labour unrest due to non-payment of wages has gripped the cash-starved Bisra Stone Lime Company Ltd (BSLC), a public sector dolomite and limestone mining company, at Birmitrapur in Sundargarh district. Wages for five months and other statutory dues have not been paid by the company.
Workers under the banner of Birmitrapur Mazdoor Manch (BMM) led by its president and Birmitrapur MLA George Tirkey on Wednesday staged a demonstration and handed over a memorandum to Rourkela-based Regional Labour Commissioner (RLC) BR Khemundu seeking immediate remedial measures.
Tirkey attributed the pathetic condition of the 104-year-old company, a subsidiary of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) under the Union Steel Ministry, to mismanagement and callous attitude of the State and Central Governments. He demanded that the BSLC’s management should be transferred from RINL to Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) in larger interest of 957 workers. BLSC has Asia’s largest deposit of dolomite and limestone. With effective management, it can bounce back to healthy condition, claimed Tirkey.
Alleging serious unfair labour practices, the memorandum stated that the company has not paid salaries and wages to the workers for five months. Moreover, it has not deposited its share of provident fund for 11 months, besides life insurance premium and welfare cooperative fund for seven months. The RLC assured the workers of taking necessary steps on the issue.
BSLC officials said the company’s liability has mounted to around `50 crores. The situation aggravated due to the ban on dispatch of raw materials by the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) from June 3 as the Scheme of Mining (SoM) under mining rules had expired. The previous SoM, which was valid for five years, ended on March 31, 2013. The management had applied for fresh SoM within the stipulated time of 120 days before the expiry, the officials added.
The BSLC was closed for 110 days by Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) for lack of environment clearance between November 2011 and February 2012. It was again closed for 50 days by OSPCB for excess mining of minerals this year.