About 9,000 jobless workers of Serampore India Jute Mills and Chandannagar Gondolpara Jute Mills are listless even as the onset of Viswakarma Puja has failed to bring joy for them. With Durga Puja just around the corner, they remain in poverty and misery, unable to meet the demands of their families.

More than 2,600 jute mill workers of closed Serampore India Jute Mill have received six months’ Financial Assistance to Workers in Locked Out Industrial Unit (FAWLOI) allowance of Rs. 9,000 per person, but the jobless workers of Gondolpara jute mill are yet to receive the allowance. These hapless ex-workers also feel that the FAWLOI allowance is just a temporary relief before the festive season, and they want the state government to come forward and take every possible step to re-open the closed jute mills.

Mr Subha Prasad Banerjee alias Ratan Banerjee, the former MLA of Chandannagar and now a senior CITU leader said, “Till now, 19 jobless jute mill workers have died due to lack of proper treatment for want of money and two others have committed suicide.” “The jobless jute mill workers can not avail treatment at ESI hospital after six months of mill closure. A sum of Rs 1500 per month was fixed as FAWLOI allowance for jobless ex-workers in 2010, and neither the CPIM nor the Trinamul Congress government increased the allowance,” he said.

He also said that the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee is highly sympathetic towards Durga Puja committees whose grant has been increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000, but she is indifferent towards the plight of the jobless jute mill workers and their families. In 2009, the Chandannagar Gondalpara jute mill changed hands, from Arun Bajoria to Sanjay Kajaria, and since then the Gondolpara jute mill has shut down six times.