Bengal threatens to move tribunal against HBT

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 05, 2012 17:30 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 5 (IANS) Days after port equipment operator Haldia Bulk Terminal (HBT) Pvt Ltd quit West Bengal, the state government Monday threatened to move the Central Industrial Tribunal against the manner in which the company terminated the services of around 620 employees.

Claiming that labour laws had been violated in the way the employees were retrenched, Labour Minister Purnendu Bose said he would write to union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on the issue.

HBT, which operated at mechanised berths two and eight at the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) and handled five million tonnes of cargo per year, announced Oct 31 that it would quit the state over "poor law and order" and "safety" concerns of its employees.

The company, a joint venture of ABG Infralogistics and French Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, had retrenched 275 employees in September and terminated the services of the remaining 348 employees Saturday.

"We have to approach the Central Industrial Tribunal as the Haldia Dock Complex is not under the jurisdiction of the state government," Bose said.

In the morning, the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) submitted a fresh plea before the Calcutta High Court for resumption of operations by HBT within a stipulated period.

KoPT counsel Arunabha Ghosh said the recall application saw opposition from both the state government and the HBT.

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