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 Two jute mills closed in West Bengal

KOLKATA, June 8, 2015: In another blow to West Bengal’s jute industry, two mills in Hooghly district announced suspension of work on Sunday rendering around seven thousand workers jobless. This comes a day after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visited a jute mill during his visit to the city.

Northbrook Jute Mill in Bhadreshwar and India Jute Mill in Serampore put up notices of suspension of work. About 4,000 workers were employed at the Northbrook mill while 3,500 workers were employed at the India mill.

Falling demand for jute and worker problems were plaguing the jute mills, forcing many mill authorities to shut down the mills.

The India Jute Mills is situated about two kilometres from Wellington Jute Mill in Rishra, where Mr. Gandhi paid a visit on Saturday.

In his interaction with jute workers, he had assured them he would raise their problems in Parliament.

“I am with you all whether you are a jute mill worker, a farmer or from the the weaker section of society. Wherever you will see weak people, you will find Rahul Gandhi standing beside them,” Congress vice president had said.

Last year, the Northbrook mill was closed briefly following the murder of the chief executive officer in broad daylight on June 15. He was attacked by workers who were agitating against a management proposal to cut down on working hours. Source: thehindu.com



WB Govt to use jute bags for packaging paddy 

Kolkata, May 27, 2015: The West Bengal Government will now use 70 per cent of jute madebags to package paddy. This was decided in a high-level meeting held at the State Secretariat, Nabanna, official sources today said.

Almost 40 lakh people in the state are directly or indirectly connected with jute. Last year,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had formed a committee of ministers to form a separatepolicy on jute.

This committee comprised state Industry and Commerce Minister Amit Mitra, Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick, Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose, Labour Minister Malay Ghatak and the State jute commissioner. Another committee has been formed in the meeting to procure jute bags for packaging of paddy
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West Bengal jute mills in distress again

 
 
 
Kolkata , January 6, 2015: With the Punjab government refraining from purchase of jute bags used for foodgrain packing, the jute sector in West Bengal is faced with crisis. In addition, orders from the sugar sector have dried up. Punjab is the largest buyer of jute bags for mills in West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh, third-largest consumer of jute bags after Punjab, has so far not procured. Mills are sitting on huge stocks, even after operating as only a third of capacity.

The stock of jute goods in mills in West Bengal at the end of November was 113,000 tonnes, against 85,000 tonnes in November 2013. In 2013-14, production of jute goods was 300,000 tonnes, against 430,000 tonnes in the previous year, a fall of 30 per cent.

In November, the Punjab government had placed orders for procurement of 384,000 bales of gunny bags with mills in West Bengal. However, later the state expressed inability to buy, citing high prices. According to rules, it is compulsory that 90 per cent of packaging of foodgrain be done in jute bags.

Earlier, the Punjab government had also floated a tender for purchase of plastic bags for foodgrain packaging. However, the Centre subsequently rejected permission for this. Recently, the state requested the Food Corporation of India to purchase the bags on its behalf. However, so far, no purchase has been made for foodgrain packaging in Punjab.

Usually, the Punjab government procures half its requirement of 150,000 bales by the end of December. So far, Haryana has procured 180,000 bales and Madhya Pradesh 200,000 bales of bags.

"We expect the Uttar Pradesh government to procure jute bags soon, though there are some delays," said Sanjay Kajaria, former chairman of the Indian Jute Mills Association.

After dilution of the Jute Packaging Materials Act, which reduced the minimum mandatory packaging for sugar in jute bags from 100 to 20 per cent recently, the demand from sugar mills, too, has dried up.

As a result of poor demand, the work hours in jute mills are being curtailed, leading to labour unrest. In the recent past, in 10 of 50 mills, periodic work suspension was declared due to lack of demand, said Kajaria. Source: Business Standard

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