Unions oppose NTC land appraisal process

Workers at the state’s National Textile Corporation (NTC) factories, pledging allegiance to various unions, opposed a decision to calculate the value of land assets held by the factories. The central government had hired a private consulting firm to measure the land.

Members of the CITU, INTUC and BMS unions at the Vijayamohini factories in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday blocked officials from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a real estate consultancy firm, who had come for the land appraisal process. The unions see it as another step towards closing or privatizing factories.

The 23 NTC spinning mills (five in Kerala), under the Union Ministry of Textiles, have remained closed since March, although the Center authorized the opening of factories and industries in May. The unions have been on indefinite strike here for 21 days. The large stockpile of unsold yarn stock is reported as one reason the spinning mills remain closed.

“The consulting firm carried out a land appraisal at two factories – the Alagappa factory in Thrissur and the Kannur factory. The Center has taken no action to reopen the factories. Now that the issue of reopening due to be discussed in parliament next week, they ordered a factory in southern India – a factory in Tamil Nadu – to operate, to give the impression that the factories are not completely closed. But the government does not ‘offer no further help. They asked them to use raw materials from other factories that remain closed, which also looks like an attempt to make those factories useless. Parvathy’s factory in Kollam was closed in this way. ” said TS Vijayakumar, general secretary of the National Textiles Corporation Mills United Staff Federation.

According to a factory official, valuation of land assets is a normal step. Orders for the same were issued before COVID-19 hit, but were delayed because council officials were unable to travel. But the official was not clear on why this land appraisal was being carried out.

The unions said that the NTC had a strong financial capacity, as a large amount of money was awaiting release from various agencies. But no concrete effort had been made by management to obtain these amounts. According to the audit report for the year 2019-2020, the NTC can recover a total amount of 2,233 crore, pending the sale of land or factories to various agencies or state governments.

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