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Govt asks HMT Watches to arrange funds on its own to clear salary dues

Funds were sought from DHI to clear salaries of 815 employees worth Rs 19 crore

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Govt asks HMT Watches to arrange funds on its own to pay salaries

The government has asked to arrange funds on its own to clear pending salary dues of its employees, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

As many as eight central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) under the Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) are under closure.

Giving details about three such entities — HMT Bearings, and HMT Chinar Watches, Union Minister Anant Geete said during Question Hour that the employees of these undertakings have been relieved through VRS/VSS (Voluntary Retirement Scheme/Voluntary Separation Scheme).

However, 146 employees of the HMT Watches' Ranibagh unit have moved the High Court and obtained a stay on the company's closure, he said, adding that the matter is sub-judice.

has sought funds from DHI for payment of salary for the period from January 2016 to March 2017 of Rs 19 crore for 815 employees relieved between January to June 2016 comprising Rs 10.70 crore and Rs 8.30 crore for 146 employees of watch factory Ranibagh who did not opt for VRS, he said.

"In this regard, the company has been asked to explore alternate measures including sale proceeds of moveable assets to arrange on their own," Geete said.

About Tungabhadra Steel Products, the Minister said VRS has been completed for all employees and all dues have been settled.

In the case of Hindustan Cables, Geete said all employees except 125 people of Naini unit, Allahabad have opted for VRS.

"Naini unit has been transferred to HAL with 125 employees. Amount of Rs 250.98 crore has been released for VRS/VSS. Dues have been settled in all cases except 21 cases due to technical reasons," he noted.

The Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises said 466 employees of the Hindustan Photo Films Mfg Co Ltd have been relieved through VRS and 167 employees are still on the rolls of the company.

About HMT (Tractor Division), Geete said that out of 1,001 employees, 849 have been relieved on VRS/VSS.

"An amount of Rs 303.68 crore has been released to the company on January 19, 2017 for VRS/VSS purpose. An additional fund amounting to Rs 240 crore was released to the company on February 10, 2017 for VRS/VSS and the balance amount which is still to be released is Rs 175.04 crore," he said in a written reply.

He also said employee representatives have filed a writ petition challenging the order on closure of the tractor unit.

The Ministry of Labour & Employment accorded permission of closure of units of tractor division. 152 employees did not opt for VRS/VSS and approached the High Court against the closure decision and the court has granted stay against the closure, he added.

Giving details about the Kota unit of Instrumentation, Geete said VRS/VSS for its employees was opened from December 8, 2016 till March 18, 2017.

"Government has approved an amount of Rs 438 crore approximately for the purpose of payment of pending salary, statutory dues etc. Of its employees, which amounts to approximately Rs 438 crore.

"Further, action to release the amount would be initiated when VRS/VSS is closed," the Minister said.

First Published: Tue, March 21 2017. 16:57 IST