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Panel's visit to Haldia an eyewash: Trinamool Congress

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The on Tuesday alleged that the three-member panel’s visit to look into the pullout of (HBT) is an eyewash, as the committee did not meet the retrenched workers and the TMC-afficialted union members at Haldia Dock Complex.

“We find this inquiry by the shipping ministry as an eyewash to please the West Bengal Pradesh Congress and some Central ministers. It is evident with the fact that the committee did not meet even the retrenched workers or the union at Haldia. Once a new party takes charge of berth number 2 and 8, we want all the 650 employees to be reinstated,” Suvendu Adhikari, Trinamool Congress MP from Tamluk, told Business Standard.

The three-member-committee — including A Janardhana Rao, managing director of Indian Ports Association, S Tripathy, deputy secretary, ministry of shipping and Anuj Agrawal, a senior shipping ministry official — had visited the port last week. The move came days after a diplomatic intervention from the French embassy, following a request from Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA), the French partner of ABG Infralogistics, asking for a safe exit from Haldia.

State Congress leaders and Central ministers like Deepa Dasmunshi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too had intervened into the matter and had several round of meetings with the shipping minister G K Vasan.

Meanwhile, the Congress is gearing for a show of strength at Haldia on Tuesday, with all its major leaders including Dasmunshi set to address a meeting. Making matters complex, Adhikari too is also holding a meeting at the port town. "We want safe business environment at Haldia. There should not be a situation where industry workers are being kidnapped," said, Pradip Bhattacharya, President, WBPCC.

HBT had pulled out of cargo handling operations, at berth number 2 and 8 of Haldia Dock under the Kolkata Port Trust, on October 31 citing “political tension” and “vested intersts” from the part of the port authorities.

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