West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday wrote a letter to Union Minister of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan protesting against dismantling of the Raw Materials Division (RMD) of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and urged him to revoke the decision.
“I am shocked to learn from the media that the RMD, headquartered in Kolkata, is being dismantled. This will result in the job loss of scores of contractual employees in the midst of the pandemic, literally outing them in harm’s way. And over 100 permanent employees will face destabilisation of their families, their spouses and their children, with imminent transfer.”
He also said the iconic Durgapur and Burnpur integrated steel plants would be left with no captive mines, nor would they get any supplies of iron ore. Questioning the timing of the developments, Dr. Mitra said “this move of dismantling the RMD and resultant negative implication on Durgapur and Burnpur follows the BJP’s recent electoral loss in Bengal”.
On Monday, the Trinamool Congress trade union has also raised the issue and alleged that there might be political motives to it. Ritabrata Banerjee, State unit secretary of the union, said the reason behind the development was “deep antipathy towards Bengal” and a “conspiracy to shut down small and medium units here”. The TMC leadership has said they will protest against the development.
In the letter, Dr. Mitra said, “I am deeply apprehensive that the two massive plants would either be asset stripped or be sold in the name of disinvestment, having crippled them through the current policy shift.”
He suggested to the Union Minister that to secure the future of two profitable steel plants of the SAIL, he should instruct the officers on the board of the public service undertaking not to dismantle the RMD.