Falcon stops rolling tyres; edgy workers plan rally tomorrow

Falcon Tyres, one of the premier factories in the city, has stopped production since two months, pushing 2,500 workers towards the brink of uncertainty about their future.

In an attempt to seek the government’s intervention to solve the imbroglio, Falcon Tyres Employees Union has decided to take out a protest rally in the city on March 3.

Announcing this to media, here, on Sunday, union president D V Devaraj said, “The factory that saw several strides ever since it was established by H D Shetty in 1975 with a capacity to produce 2,000 tyres per day to the current 34,000 tyres and 18,000 tubes, has stopped production since December last, triggering anxiety among the workers, who have been deprived of their salaries from the past four-and-a-half months.

The salary dues are accrued at Rs 6 crore till now. Though Dunlop Polymers, another factory belonging to the same group in Mysuru, with 250 workers, has stopped production over a month and half, the workers there get their salaries totalling Rs 7 lakh per month. Its production is six to seven lakh tubes per month.

Real estate

Devaraj blamed Pawan Kumar Ruia, the chairman of Ruia Group of Companies that took over the factory in 2005, for the problems. “Though the factory has Rs 1,200 crore turnover, Ruia is diverting the working capital up to Rs 711 crore towards real estate in Mysuru, Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and other districts, showing scant concern for the workers,” he said.

Devaraj said, it recently emerged that Ruia is known for taking over companies and turning them into sick entities, after borrowing loans in the name of investment. “It was evident with the investments made in co-generation plant and radial tyre plant at Mysuru. Both the plants were not utilised to its full capacity, even though Rs 60 crore to Rs 70 crore was invested in them,” he said.

Devaraj said, in addition to not paying salaries, the management has not remitted provident fund, tax deduction at source (TDS) to the authorities concerned.

He said, recently, when the issue was brought to the notice of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at his home office Krishna in Bengaluru, the chief minister summoned Ruia and also spoke to him in the workers’ interest. Though Ruia promised to address the problem, it remains on the papers.

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