Ranchi, Nov 8 (UiTV/IANS) – The crisis at Ranchi-based public sector establishment, Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC), seems far to be over as the company despite having orders worth Rs 1,500 crore from ISRO, the Ministry of Defence, Railways, Coal India and the steel sector, its 80 per cent work is pending due to shortage of fund.
The officers of the company have not received salary for an entire year and employees for eight-nine months. HEC has requested the Ministry of Heavy Industries several times to provide working capital of Rs 1000 crore, but the Ministry has already made it clear that the Central government cannot help the factory in any way. The company management has to stand on its own feet.
The company, which started with about 22,000 staff in 1963, now has only 3400 employees-officers. The debt and burden are such that even the company is no longer able to pay their salaries. HEC officers have been agitating for the last five days demanding payment of 12 months’ arrears of salary. They are protesting daily at the company’s gate.
In December last year, all the employees of the company had carried out a tool-down strike for several days in December last year demanding salary. Later the strike was ended by paying one month’s salary, but after that the situation got worse.
This company has been passing through the toughest phase in its history for the last two years.
The crisis of HEC and the apathy of the government towards it can be understood from the fact that even the permanent CMD has not been appointed in the company for the last two years. Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) CMD, Nalin Singhal, who also holds the charge of HEC CMD, has never come to visit HEC till date.
Meanwhile, HEC directors Rana S. Chakraborty and M.K. Saxena will coem to New Delhi with the request of the agitating officers and staff. They will talk to the Industry Secretary from the Union Industry Ministry on important issues including salaries.
According to experts, the biggest challenge before the company is upgradation of machines and core capital. There has been a steady decline in production for the last five years. Only 25 per cent of the machines are being used in the factory. There is also a shortage of raw materials including coal.
HEC has to supply the launching pads for ISRO’s satellites by March next year, but the company does not have the steel for this. SAIL supplies the special steel required to make the equipment. But HEC already owes Rs 5 crore, SAIL has refused to supply steel without clearing the earlier dues. In such a situation, it is feared that if the company does not get special steel, launching pad will not be supplied to the ISRO till March 2023.