Dhanbad: Over 100 widows of the former employees of Fertilizer Corporation of India (FCI), facing the threat of eviction from company quarters, gheraoed the office of general manager of Sindri unit D.D. Adhikari on Thursday demanding the transfer of lease to their name.
FCI had leased out quarters to the employees following the closure of the Sindri unit in December 31, 2002, but after their death, the quarters were not transferred to their widows who have been served eviction notices several times, the last being two months back.
"My husband served the company for more than three decades and we spent our entire life in Sindri. We have raised our five daughters here. Four of them are now married. One among them is physically challenged and lives with me. Where will I go if the company asks me to leave the quarter?" Pana Devi (60), widow of former FCI employee S. Prasad who died in 2006, said.
The gherao, organised under the banner of All India VSS Employees' Association, also witnessed the presence of over 100 former FCI workers who demanded that the lease period of their quarters be increased to a minimum of five years against the current practice of renewing the leases after every 11 months.
These employees had been given retirement under voluntary separation scheme (VSS) during the closure of the factory following recurrent losses.
Former public relations officer of FCI Sewa Singh, who is also the president of All India VSS Employees' Association, said, "Out of over 2,000 employees who had to leave their job midway took recourse to protests. After the intervention of the district administration, they were allowed to continue living in company quarters provided the leases were renewed after every 11 months."
He said the retirement benefits of each quarter allottees were withheld by the company as security deposit ranging from Rs 90,000 to Rs 4.5 lakh. The company does not provide any interest on the amount but charges an annual fee for electricity and water supply.