PUDUCHERRY: The state- owned Anglo-French Textile Mills has become a white elephant for the government, with Rs 435 crore having been invested in it since its take over in 1985.
The funds are for paying wages to workers, purchase of raw materials and running the mill, V Bhalan, chairman of Pondicherry Textile Corporation (PTC), under which the mill is functioning, told Express.
The mill suffered 50 per cent loss in 1995 and by 2005-2006 the loss had gone up to 100 per cent, he said.
The mill was shut down in January because of damage due to cyclone Thane. The PTC has made a claim for damage to the tune of Rs 18.45 crore and have submitted it to the government. But the compensation for damage is yet to be paid, according to information obtained under RTI by P Raghupathy, president, Rajiv Gandhi Human Rights Awareness Organisation. However, the staff and workers are getting wages, with the government providing funds. The government has paid salary to 297 staff and 1,654 workers with the financial implications being Rs 85,49,276.22 per month for staff and Rs 2,37,14,575 for workers.
However, it is ironical that the government is paying wages to workers without work, while it has not paid wages to PASIC staff who have been doing work for the past nine months, that too when the government is faced with financial constraints.
“It would be prudent for the government to provide funds for repairing the damaged mill and commence work. After production commences, the government should pay salary and not without work,” says Raghupathy. In addition, the funds earmarked for free saree dhoti scheme, uniforms, hospital linens could be provided to AFT mills so that they could undertake this work, he suggested.
Balan who recently took over as chairman has inquired into all aspects of the functioning and prepared a report as well as an action plan for the mills revival.
“It would be submitted to the government within two days,” Balan told Express.