Dunlop must be given government incentives: Mamata

December 10th, 2008 - 10:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) West Bengal’s main opposition Trinamool Congress Wednesday demanded that the state government give the promised incentives to tyre maker Dunlop India so as to facilitate the reopening of its Sahaganaj factory in neighbouring Hooghly district.Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who held a meeting with Dunlop India chairman Pawan Kumar Ruia at her residence Wednesday, said the businessman was keen to resume work at the factory, which employed 1,202 workers.

“He is keen on resuming work at the Dunlop plant provided he gets the promised incentives from the state government. His demand is justified because any industrialist who buys a sick plant is entitled to get some special benefits,” Banerjee told reporters.

“Dunlop is a special case and the state government will have to immediately offer all incentives to Ruia, that includes sales tax and VAT (value-added tax) remission, cheap electricity and some soft loans,” Banerjee said.

Commenting on her decision to lay a siege at the factory site if work did not resume, Banerjee said: “We do not believe in closing down factories and making people starve. Instead, we believe in industrialisation in the true sense of the term - that is industry with cheers, and not tears.”

Dunlop India declared suspension of work at its Sahaganj unit Nov 30, throwing into uncertainty the future of the workers.

Earlier, the company had stopped production at the factory Nov 17, citing lack of demand due to the global recession.

Ruia later demanded a loan of around Rs.1 billion from the state government, and also other incentives.

Commenting on the meeting, Ruia said he discussedb with Banerjee the possibility of reopening the factory. “We discussed all factors. We want to open the factory, and we are working on all the modalities.”

Asked how soon the factory could be reopened, Ruia said: “There are certain issues involved, like working capital requirement, government incentives and negotiations regarding productivity.”

After a five-year closure, Dunlop Tyres resumed its commercial production at the factory on Jan 14 last year.

The company was bought over by Kolkata-based businessman Ruia from Manohar Rajaram Chhabria’s family in late 2005.

The company has a full capacity of 130 tonnes of production a day.

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