Ousted Alembic workers continue their protest

Ousted Alembic workers continue their protest
Wed, Mar 6, 2019

Maha Andolan ultimatum if demands not fulfilled

PANKAJ DHUNGEL
GANGTOK: The ongoing protest by ousted workers of Alembic pharma company reached the State Commerce & Industries department here at Tadong on Tuesday with the workers demanding that the license of the pharma company be cancelled by the State government.
The aggrieved workers led by State BJP youth president Laten Sherpa also served an ultimatum to the State government to resolve the workers’ issue by Wednesday 2 pm failing to which they would intensify their movement as a ‘Maha Aandolan’ including seeking support from various political parties.
Once again dressed in funeral clothing, the workers marched from Labour department at Lingding to the Commerce & Industries department in Tadong demanding cancellation of license of Alembic Pharmaceutical Company.
With Industries principal secretary Thomas Chandy being out of station, they submitted a memorandum to secretary S.K. Pradhan. Contractual workers from other pharmaceutical companies also joined the protest fearing the same kind of treatment will be done against them by their employers in the future.
Secretary S.K. Pradhan said, “We cannot act on the demand placed by the Alembic contractual workers since the principal secretary is out of station. He will be returning on March 8, following which we will act upon the demand.”
The secretary confirmed of having received the February 13 consensus that was reached between the workers and the company's management which was initiated by the Labour department led by its secretary L.P. Chettri.
State BJP youth president Laten Sherpa, who has been spearheading the workers’ protest, called for a mass movement if the ultimatum is not respected by the State government. He led the workers in their protest with tonsured head and white clothing as a form of protest against the State government’s alleged apathy.
“This is a clash of ego, wherein neither the State government nor the Alembic company wants to come down for the contractual workers. The issue that evolved on February 1 was an internal matter which could have been resolved within the company's premises itself. Until they drop their ego, the protest will continue and take a turn for a bigger movement. At that point, if there is any harm done to the workers then the State government and Alembic must take responsibility. We want to maintain the peace in the State, but the breach in peace is being done through the State government's negligence.”
On the support being extended by the opposition parties, an Alembic worker stated, "They never came forth with their political ideologies, they came in support seeing us in dreaded condition during our protest at Shram Bhawan. They joined us in our foot march from Singtam to Gangtok on February 11. The necessary discussion that was to be held by the State government is being done by these individuals who are merely being tagged for their political affiliation. They assert on coming and joining the protest on grounds of humanity, if there is any opposition to our issue then it has been the State government who are against us".
Another worker alleged that the Alembic company has been putting a leash on the State government as the issue has been on-going for over a month. “We have been demanding as per our labour rights for over a month now, yet they ask for more time. The government is forcing us to take disastrous steps as we have been emotional with the issue, they must take responsibility along with the company if this movement turns violent. We feel the State government cannot give us justice.”


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Capital:Gangtok
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Climate:
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
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