Villagers fear automaker's exit

Shekar Soni owns a small grocery shop in Dhana village adjacent to the sprawling Maruti Suzuki plant and he always had roaring business. But not so for the past three days.

And that reflects the scene of the entire village and those of neighbouring ones.  Dhana, bustling with activity, now looks deserted after the violence at the car-making plant which claimed the life of a top official.

“I don’t know what would be my future, if the plant is shifted elsewhere. I have no option but to close my shop,” said Soni reacting to rumours that the company might move to Gujarat. His wife, Gunjan, is equally concerned.  “For the past three days no business as at all,” she said.

This is not the story of Soni alone. The tales of several people who depend in some way on Maruti in villages surrounding  plant — Aliyar, Kasan, Basskusla, Kankrola, Bangrola, Pukharpur, Naharpur and Nawada — are the same.

These villagers, who once owned vast swathe of land, now have just their houses as land was acquired by the government to set up the Industrial Model Township (IMT) which also houses the Suzuki plant. To make a living they run eat outs, shops and even rent out their premises for accommodation for which factory employees are their only customers.

Villagers have decided to rally around Suzuki to ensure that their economic base remain intact. On Saturday over a dozen village heads gathered at Dhana village and expressed their solidarity with the company and demanded action against the culprits. “Existence of this plant is for the benefit of this region.

Most of the surrounding villages of this plant are either directly or indirectly dependent on Maruti,” Dhana village Sarpanch Moolchand told Deccan Herald.

 Farukh Nagar Market Committee ex-chairman Maan Singh Yadav said: “We want
industries to stay here and we will support by all means. We want the culprits to be punished.”

Villagers have decided to convene a maha panchayat comprising heads of over 60 surrounding villages on Monday at Dhana village to express solidarity with the company.

The town houses over 100 big plants providing jobs over 20,000 workers.

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