Tirupati: Amara Raja units' closure hits 16,000 staff
- Employees are spending sleepless nights about their future
- They lament that they have become victims of differences between the managements and the govt
- Around one lakh people in the area depend on the factory for their livelihood
Tirupati: The sudden closure of the seven units of Amara Raja Batteries, a major industry in the backward Chittoor district, for allegedly violating environmental norms, has thrown about 16,000 people on to the road.
The employees feel that the company may not reopen again and they have to suffer due to the ongoing tussle between the company and the state government. While the company claims that it had been following the environmental norms as prescribed by the government, the AP Pollution Control Board in its latest report submitted alleged large scale violations, including findings that high level of lead in the blood samples of the employees and people living in surrounding areas.
The company has so far not challenged these findings and issued a press note saying that they were in talks with the government and the issue would be sorted out. They only reiterated that they had rectified all the violations that were pointed in the past.
A middle aged employee said on the condition of anonymity that the company had never faced such a major problem. He said he has been working for past 20 years and never had to worry about his job. This was the first time the factory has been closed indefinitely and power had been disconnected leaving the employees in lurch. There are about one lakh people who are indirectly employed in this company, he added.
The employees are unable to believe that the company would have committed such large scale violations as it had won several awards in the past. They said they were of the opinion that the Pollution Control Board inspected the units regularly and gave clean chit. The decision of the PCB to close the units and disconnect power had come as a shock to them. Their future was now at stake, they said.
The staff said that they were aware that some kind of differences had cropped up between he management and the government when an attempt was made by the YSRCP government to take back the unused lands. But this move was challenged in the High Court which had set aside the GO.
The latest development, they said, may or may not have political overtones but has left them worried about their future. So far, there has been no clue from the management on whether or not the units would be re-opened. About 16,000 families would be on road if the units do not reopen. The questions that are troubling them now are will the government take over the unit or will the management sell it off to someone else. If so, what will happen to the jobs of the existing staff. They said they are keeping their fingers crossed and hope for the best. Any decision to permanently close the units would prove to be disastrous to them specially during the pandemic situation.