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Pol violence in Bhatpara hit jute mills' production

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Press Trust of India Kolkata
The violence and disturbances in trouble-torn Bhatpara and Kankinara area of West Bengal have adversely impacted the manufacturing of jute goods in the state, millers said on Wednesday.
The violence has led to absence of workers causing jute mills which dot the area to cut production by at least 30 per cent, they said.
In view of the situation, the office of the Jute Commissioner has urged the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) to step up the production of goods packaging materials.
"The indenting agencies have so far placed 5.49 lakh bales in the months of June and July, 2019. Against the ordered quantity, the jute industry has been able to supply only 3.19 lakh bales leaving a backlog of 2.30 lakh bales or 41.7 per cent of the indented quantity," deputy Jute Commissioner Kousik Chakraborty said in a letter to Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA).
"The overall supply position appears to be highly unsatisfactory," he said.
If the jute millers do not increase their production capacity immediately, there is likely to be "a substantial shortfall in supply of jute bags and consequent dilution for HDPE/PP bags cannot be ruled out," the letter said.
North 24 Parganas district, in which Bhatpara and Kankinara fall, is a prominent jute belt of the state. Some 13 jute mills located in the area are facing shortage of workers leading to the cut in production, industry sources said.
Jute workers, who are facing threats and intimidation from trouble makers, are reluctant to report for work, IJMA sources said requesting anonymity.
The Jute Commissioner's office noted that overall supply of jute bags appeared to "unsatisfactory" for the packaging requirement during June and July.
In the current season the supply target is 18.44 lakh bales between June and November 2019 as per the demand placed by the states, it said.
Jute mills' owners are apprehending that the shortage in supply may force the Centre to dilute packaging norms in favour of plastics.
"If the jute packaging norm is diluted, lakhs of farmers and mill workers in West Bengal would be hit," the millers said.
A TMC citadel for long, Bhatpara has been witnessing frequent post-poll violence between the party and BJP which has claimed at least two lives.
The fight has intensified ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from the TMC to the BJP and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat. Bhatpara and Kankinara fall within the constituency.
In the by-election to the Bhatpara assembly seat that was held along with the Lok Sabha elections, Arjun Singh's son, Pawan Singh, defeated TMC candidate and former state minister Madan Mitra.

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First Published: Jul 31 2019 | 6:00 PM IST

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