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Monday, May 16, 2005

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Indal workers uneasy over fate of unit

G.K. Nair

Kochi , May 15

THE indifferent approach of the State Government and management to reopening the smelter unit of the Indian Aluminium Company Ltd (Indal) at nearby Eloor is causing unrest among the jobless employees here.

At the last meeting convened by the Chief Minister, it was decided to hold a follow-up meeting after a month. But even after six weeks, no communication to this effect has emanated from the government side.

The management, which was asked to submit a proposal showing its power requirement and the affordable price, is yet to do so, Mr N. Gopinath, CITU leader, said.

According to him, the NTPC had held discussions with Indal on possible supply of power. But the former is said to have told Indal that it would not supply power to individual industries. The State, he said, should have discussed this issue with the NTPC.

Besides, he said, the State Electricity Board does not seem to be in favour of reducing the tariff or wheeling charges.

It had been insisting that the company set up captive hydel project, involving huge investments, he alleged. If the KSEB supplied power to the Indal at the rate of Rs 2.90 a unit, i.e., the tariff prevalent before the latest hike, the company might re-open the unit, Mr Gopinath said.

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