The Alleged suicide of a shut jute mill worker at Chinsurah in Hooghly district started a political slug fest with local BJP MP Locket Chatterjee blaming the state government for the closure and the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) counter attacking the saffron party for “brainwashing” labour unions.
Biswajit Dey (40), who used to work in now shut Gondalpara jute mill in Chandannagar, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at his Buroshivtala residence in Chinsurah on Saturday, said police.
Primary investigation revealed he was in a severe financial crisis after the closure of the jute mill one-and-a-half years ago, added police.
Chatterjee met the bereaved family on Monday after TMC’s Chandannagar MLA Indranil Sen held her responsible for the closure of the Gondalpara jute mill, during a recent programme in Hooghly.
Biswajit is survived by his wife, daughter and parents. A co-worker from the jute mill said he was not even able to pay his daughter’s school fees. “He was depressed for a long time,” said the worker. His wife Shukla Dey claimed he was unemployed for the last one-and-a-half years. “He used to work as a daily-wage labourer, but was unable to run the family,” said.
After the Gondalpara jute mill got shut one-and-a-half years ago, it opened for a short period between April and May in 2019, but was again shut on May 27, said the local residents.
The BJP is blaming the state government for closure of jute mills across the state, while the TMC accused the local BJP MP of making fake promises and giving false hopes for job opportunities.
“With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s initiative, all the jute mills were opened in the area. But, the BJP leaders, for their own benefit, brainwashed people and the jute mill was shut. Now the people should go and ask the BJP MP that when would they again open this jute mill,” Chandannagar MLA Sen had said during the programme.
Sources said after it was reopened in April, production stopped in May due to differences among the labour unions of the mill and finally it was shut on May 27, rendering at least 4,000 jobless.
Responding to Sen’s statement, Chatterjee said, “On one hand, they (TMC) are doing campaigns like Didi ke bolo and when people talk about real problems, they shrug off their responsibility by blaming the MPs. I have been just elected as an MP. What have they been doing all these years. The deceased was unable to run his family not only because of the closure of the jute mill, but also because this family had invested a lot of their savings in a chit fund company and never got their money back. This government is shameless,” she said.
A jute mill worker said the political leaders make big promises. “But the reality is that we all are without any work. State or central government, no one is doing anything for us. Lakhs of labours are unemployed in the state waiting for the day when these jute mills will start functioning like earlier,” said the worker.