Hyderabad-based Regency Ceramics Limited has started importing ceramic tile products, besides sourcing in part from Indian manufacturers to ensure continuity in terms of market share and its brand name in the aftermath of the closure of its factory at Yanam in Puducherry.
The company has declared lockout of the manufacturing facility, along with ancillary units, after it was subjected to large-scale vandalism on January 27.
“We are importing the products from countries like Italy as well as sourcing them from domestic manufacturers to sell under our brand name. We have built our brand in the marketplace by putting in a lot of efforts, commitment towards quality and money over the decades. We cannot afford to lose any of these, including our market share,” GN Naidu, chairman of Regency Ceramics, told reporters here on Monday.
While the company maintains that the lockout was a temporary measure to facilitate the ongoing police investigation into the attack and destruction of factory premises, assessment of the damage done to plant and machinery apart from allowing the situation to get back to normalcy, it is yet to get a clear picture on how much time will it require for a possible revival of operations at Yanam.
“We have no clue as to whether the machinery can be brought back to original shape and the conditions prevailed in Yanam are far from normal even today. We are bringing technical experts from Europe to evaluate the status of the assets at Yanam as the equipment and machinery in the plant were imported from countries like Italy and Spain,” Naidu said.
Responding to a question, he said the government of Puducherry had not approached the company with any concrete proposal for facilitating the revival of the plant.
Stating that the hand of outsiders in the attack on the factory and even the killing of the company president (operations) KC Chandrasekhar on the fateful night was established beyond any doubt, the collusion of a section of the factory employees in this destruction was also needed to be investigated before restarting the operations, according to the company chairman.
While reiterating his demand for a CBI probe into the incident, he said that some of the workers were recruited without their antecedents being thoroughly verified and this had to be rectified. He alleged that the attack was planned one year ahead.
Though the company initially said that the loss would be about Rs 150 crore, a detailed assessment of damage for claiming insurance has still been under way.
The production came to a halt ever since about 1,200-odd workers joined the tool-down strike on December 5. Efforts to arriving at a negotiated settlement under the supervision of Yanam collector fell through on January 3, leading to a complete stalemate between the management and the workers on demands such as announcement of an interim increment culminating into large-scale violence on January 27, according to the company management.
The company is suffering Rs 8-10 crore net loss a month due to loss of production, Naidu said. The factory was running at 60 per cent of its installed capacity of 44,000 square metre a day on account of natural gas shortage during the past couple of years.