Reopening of Ambassador's Uttarpara plant unlikely

Reopening of Ambassador's Uttarpara plant unlikely

Uncertainty looms over the future of the Hindustan Motors’ (HM) Ambassador plant in West Bengal with State Labour Minister Purnendu Basu saying on Thursday that chances of it re-opening soon seem unlikely.

The company served a suspension of work notice on May 24 post which the plant has been closed.
“After discussing with the HM management, I have a feeling that the Uttarpara plant will not reopen soon,” Basu told reporters after a bipartite meeting with the makers of the iconic Ambassador car.

The plant at Uttarpara in Hooghly district has around 2,500 workers and managerial staff. It was set up by the Birlas in 1948 to boost the indigenous automobile sector in a newly-independent nation.

While the management claims it was forced to suspend work due to sustained financial losses over a period of 15 years, Basu said, “I asked the HM management why it kept the state government in the dark while declaring suspension of work at the plant,” he said.

The minister also told reporters that he has categorically asked the HM management to clarify before the government its intentions regarding the plant. He is expecting it to come up with a suitable response soon.

Basu added that the management has been asked to clear due wages to employees who were facing a six-month backlog in payment. “They will pay the advance wage to workers on Monday by cheque and then again meet us (the state government) the following day,” Basu said.

The meeting was also attended by the labour secretary, labour commissioner and assistant labour commissioner, while the HM management was represented by its acting chief executive officer, Moloy Chowdhury, along with another senior executive.

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