Recent moves of the National Textile Corporation, including an order to use up all pending stock of raw material and the plans to surrender the bank guarantee provided to the Kerala State Electricity Board, have raised fears among employees of Vijayamohini and other NTC mills in Kerala that they are heading for a closure.
The 23 spinning mills of the National Textile Corporation, under the Union Textiles Ministry, have remained closed since March, despite the Centre granting permission for factories and industries to open in May. According to employees of the Vijayamohini mills in Thiruvananthapuram, the current plan is to exhaust all the pending raw material stock.
“We have 4,000 bags of raw material now in stock here. The unions asked the local management whether the plan is to shut down the company after using up all the stock. But there has been no convincing response to this. Another plan is to surrender the bank guarantee provided to the KSEB. It is an understanding that the bank will provide the fund if we fail to pay the bills. These are the kind of steps companies take when they are planning to close down,” says M.T. Antony, secretary of the Trivandrum Textile Workers Union, affiliated to the CITU.
The employees’ unions say that the NTC has strong financial capability, as a large amount of money is pending realisable from various agencies. But no concrete efforts have been taken by the management to get these amounts, which is vital for the completion of the revival plan of the company.
“As per the audit report for the year 2019-20, the NTC can recover a total amount of ₹2,233 crore, pending over the sale of land or mills to various agencies or State governments. No effort has taken to realise the above amount by the management, but it has transferred an amount of ₹17 crore of the NTC to the British India Corporation and the Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India. On the other hand, employees of the NTC have not been getting their salary and wages. If this money is recovered, it will be sufficient for the NTC to run its units for the next 10 years,” says T.S. Vijayakumar, general secretary of the National Textiles Corporation Mills United Staff Federation.
The NTC has been running without a proper management since 2017. No full-time CMD and directors have been appointed. At present, no full-time director is on the board and the CMD itself is on additional charge, say the union leaders.