Suzuki chairman meets Hooda, discusses Manesar plant violence

Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki today met Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and emphasised that the SIT looking into the last month's violence at Maruti's Manesar plant must find out the "root cause".

Hooda, who met the Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India's (MSI) Japanese parent along with the top management of the Indian car maker, stressed that the culprits in the July 18 incident would be punished and said Maruti would start full production in the next seven to ten days.

At the meeting, Suzuki thanked Hooda and his government for its support after the Manesar incident. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Maruti Suzuki India's chairman R C Bhargava said Suzuki requested Hooda that the special investigation team (SIT) that was appointed after the violence "must find the root cause of what actually took place and why it took place because we must know the root cause of the whole incident".

Asked if the issue of sacking of 500 workers after the violence was discussed with the Chief Minister, he said: "Mr Hooda is of the view that anybody who is guilty must be punished. SIT investigation is still on and we have to wait for the investigation."

When asked about demand form various quarters to reinstate the 500 permanent workers sacked by the company, Hooda told PTI after the meeting, "Those who are culprits will get punishment. This is a matter between the management and labour department."

MSI had fired the workers stating it had "lost confidence with them" due to their alleged role in the July 18 violence at the plant in which one senior executive was killed and 100 others were injured. The company has reopened the plant on August 21 after a month-long lockout.

Hooda said Suzuki was "satisfied with the steps we have taken up after the incident. Production has started. In the next seven to ten days full production will start."

Suzuki, who is on a week-long visit to India, was accompanied by MSI top management, including Bhargava, Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi and Chief Operating Officer (Administration) S Y Siddiqui.

When asked about Maruti's new project in Gujarat, Bhargava said it was part of the company's expansion plan and did not mean that the comapny was moving out of Haryana.

"We are definitely continuing at Manesar", he said, adding that "Production has already started there".

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