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By A Newsman

Diamond Harbour, 07 September: SIX industrial units at the Falta Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Diamond Harbour in Bengal’s South 24-Pargans district locked out their factories on Monday after the workers demanded a wage revision.

The move has rendered around 1,400 casual workers jobless. Incidentally this happened on a day, the Bengal industries minister Amit Mitra is in Delhi conducting road shows to woo investments to Bengal.

There are about 78 operational industrial units at Falta SEZ and the six locked out units are into the manufacture of plastic products. Most of the 1,400-odd workers are women.

On turning up at the factories this morning, the workers found the gates locked out. Peeved at this, they soon took a demonstration at the SEZ’s main gate. The agitation is still on.

One of the workers rendered jobless said that they had demanded their daily wage to be revised to Rs 251 from the present Rs 188 and a negotiation with the managements of the factories was on over the past one week.

“The matter was also referred to the development commissioner of Falta SEZ and he advised the factory managements to revise the wage to Rs 251. But instead of accepting the recommendation, the factory managements have now locked out the units,” said Rehana Bibi, one of the workers.

“We want the factories to open at once. Let the negotiation for wage revision continue without suspending the work; else we would be forced to starvation,” she said.

Despite repeated attempts, the Falta SEZ’s development commissioner Sanjeev Nandwani could not be reached for a comment. His personal assistant Arup Choudhury at his Nizam Palace office in Kolkata said that Nandwani was out for a meeting.

Falta SEZ, which got the SEZ status in 2006, was established in 1984, and is now governed by the Union ministry of commerce. The SEZ is spread over an area of 280 acres and has seven industrial sheds.

Being a SEZ, it is exempted from several industrial and labour laws that are applicable to other industrial units in the country.

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