JAJPUR: Protesting nonpayment of salary and other dues for over 10 months, workers of Maithan Steel Plant confined industrialist and managing director of MESCO Group Rita Singh to her company guesthouse in Kalinga Nagar for more than 22 hours from Tuesday night.
The industrialist was saved from the ire of the protestors after Kalinga Nagar Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Santosh Kumar Mishra and Jajpur SP Charan Singh Meena rushed to the spot and rescued her.
Singh had come to Kalinga Nagar for some business-related work on Tuesday and was staying in the guesthouse. On being informed that Singh was in the guesthouse, hundreds of Maithan plant workers staged protest in front of the guesthouse, blocking the entrance.
When the news of Singh being detained spread, Mishra and Meena reached the spot and held parleys with the agitating workers. “There was no hostage like situation. Irate workers of Maithan plant were demanding payment of their dues from Singh. We held negotiations with the workers following which the latter called off their dharna,” said the ADM.
Mishra said while the workers were demanding full payment of their dues, Singh claimed she was neither the promoter nor the competent authority. Her daughter Sipra Singh is the managing director of Maithan Ispat Plant in Kalinga Nagar.
As per the negotiation, Singh agreed to pay one-month salary to the agitating workers from her personal account. She paid the amount instantly following which the agitators were pacified, Mishra said.
Singh said, “I felt very bad over the situation. I was confined to my own guesthouse by irate workers and their supporters. I must remind that I am the first industrialist to open my business in Kalinga Nagar. Such type of behaviour from the employees is not expected.”
Meanwhile, the incident took a political turn as Sukinda BJD MLA Priti Ranjan Ghadei joined the agitating workers in their protest. Ghadei, who leads the workers’ association, was also present during the negotiation.