Coming to a closure!

The Jammu and Kashmir Cements – a state government undertaking, which once upon a time was a Rs 1,000-crore entity, has now completely snapped its plant operation from past three months, because of financial imbalance. The employees of the corporation shifted to other state and autonomous departments. The corporation is going through a fragile phase because of huge liabilities. Last year, this public sector undertaking unit recorded Rs 75 crore production losses with a financial liability of 150 crore. Meanwhile the decision regarding the shifting of employees and snapping down the operation of old and new cement plant, come after the appointment of newly Managing Director.

The Jammu and Kashmir cements which got operational nod in April 1982, had installed 600 ton per day (TPD) capacity cement plant at Khrew Pampore, which was listed as a heavy sector industry in J&K. The company was manufacturing OPC garage 43 Fly Ash based cement. The company in past was churning huge profits, besides generating revenue for the state as well. The corporation was giving special bonanzas to its employees on festivity occasions. The 2006-07 year was one of the profitable fiscal year of the corporation, as the company had given thousand core rupees dividend cheques to state Government, on various occasions, besides the company is owning hundred acres of land in Khrew area of Pampore Township.

In the year 2009, the state Government and Board of Directors of the corporation decided to install another 600 TPD cement plant on modern lines, by laying foundation stone under the estimated cost of 6,000 crore, with digitalized infrastructure, which according to company statement would pay a wave towards generating employment to skilled and unskilled youths of the valley, besides the company will gain huge profits. While giving up the contract work to Bangalore based company namely PROMAC, the private construction company was completely failed to be in tune with the installation of plant machinery ruled down by the corporation according to Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) rules, which resulted the complete breakdown of newly installed 600 TPD so called digitalized plant. Later the Corporation decided not to disburse any payment to construction company, still they will run the plant according to rules laid down before handing over the project work. But irony is that the J&K Cements didn’t find any way, instead of disbursing the reaming payment to PROMAC, reasons known to him. If employees of the corporation are believed it was only a political interference.

The company from couple of years hired some engineers for operational overhaul to run its affairs, but they didn’t come up with any significant success. The ratings of the machines which got installed in the plant are low, by which the operation got failed during peak hours, resulting in huge losses to the corporation. The successive governments blamed each other for downfall in its production; PDP-BJP government termed it a “victim of politics”.

The company has at least 800 of skilled and semi-skilled employees, majority of these relocated to other allied agencies. Last year 150 employees got their superannuation, whose condition now is so desperate, as the corporation did not release their benefits /claims, because of  financial emergency. It caused mental agony to retired employees.

“I have to afford my large family including my old mother with status of senior citizen, dependable on medicines on account of multiple diseases in addition to look after my handicapped son. Besides, I’m myself facing health ailment. I have to organize the marriage ceremony of my grown up daughter shortly, deferring the same is not possible. My domestic as well as economic instability pulls me down.” Said Mohammad Ashraf, a retired employee of the J&K Cements.

Such irresponsible attitude by J&K Cements as well as by the state Government is not only violation of law, but is an infringement of human rights as well. In the backdrop of the unfavourable condition of retired employees of J&K Cements, the Managing Director of the J&K Cements is therefore conveyed through the medium of press, to take necessary action in resolving all grievances of the retired employees.

Shah Khalid was an internee at J&K Cement’s engineering wing