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Hooghly: Even as lakhs of educated youths in Bengal are already battling the trauma of unemployment, now employed people in the state have also started losing jobs.

Some 8,000-odd workers have been rendered jobless by the back to back closure of two large jute mills in Hooghly district in the past 48-hours.

The management put up a suspension of work notice at Hastings Jute Mill at Rishra last night and the workers discovered this today morning when they went to report for work.

A middle-aged worker from among the 4,000-odd said that of the late the factory was facing a shortage in the supply of raw jute. “Talks were on to run the mill four days a week instead of six. But we are not aware as to why it has been shut down altogether,” he said.

This comes a day after a similar move by the management of Northbrook Jute Mill at Champdani. There, the suspension of work notice was issued on Saturday night and workers found out this on Sunday.

Northbrook is one of the largest jute mills in Hooghly and employs some 4,000 workers. Here financial crisis and shortage in jute supplies have been mentioned as the reason for the shutdown.

Peeved at the suspension of work, a section of the jobless workers blocked the GT Road at Champdani yesterday evening. BJP labour union leaders participated in the blockade and vowed to organise a larger agitation if the mill is not opened soon.

Shutting down jute mills and tea gardens in the winter is almost an annual feature in Bengal. This is because, in the absence of rain, raw materials become scarce and costly and leads to a drastic decline in profit margin.

Owners, who earn a hefty profit in summer and monsoon by procuring raw jute at a cheap cost, do not think it wise to run the mills and gardens at a lower margin.

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