With Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa camping at Kodanadu , old-timers in The Nilgiris are reminiscing gratefully her role in keeping the saga of the Hindustan Photo Films (HPF) alive since the eighties. Workers eagerly hope that she would continue to crusade to infuse life into the sick public sector unit (PSU).
Retired employees of HPF recalled that as Rajya Sabha MP, Jayalalithaa had intervened at an appropriate time to scuttle a private company’s efforts to emerge as a competitor to the PSU.
“She visited the HPF and heard its employees, mostly native Badagas and tribals. On May 25, 1988, she wrote to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi urging him not to grant licence to a private X-Ray film manufacturer in Aurangabad as it could sound the death knell for the PSU,” pointed out Captain K R Mani, HPF’s retired public relations manager.
N C Chandra Bose, a veteran journalist here, has preserved a copy of Jayalalithaa’s letter. “But for this letter, HPF would have shut down long ago,” he said.
In the letter, Jayalalithaa had eloquently argued that “…The private company has attempted to give the impression to the Union Government that that it has developed the technical know how through its research and analysis wing. Actually, the company has hired a few scientists after tempting them (probably with huge perks) to quit HPF… We are concerned as to whether the Union Government will ultimately yield to the pressure tactics of the private companies leading to large scale retrenchment in HPF…,” she told Rajiv Gandhi.
Jayalalithaa has also championed the HPF cause as Chief Minister and Opposition Leader.
The Centre eventually sanctioned `302 crore to revive the PSU, but only `30 crore was disbursed. “We hope the CM will intervene to get the balance `272 crore,” said J Haldorai, CITU (HPF) working president.