29 September 2011

Punjab steel industry to go on indefinite strike from Oct 1:

Chandigarh, India Sep 27 (PTI): Over 500 steel producers in Punjab today announced to go on an indefinite strike from October 1 to protest against alleged harassment by officials of the Central Excise Department.

"The entire steel trade and industry in Punjab has decided to shut down their manufacturing units for the indefinite period from October 1. This decision has been taken as we are being harassed unnecessarily by department officials of Central Excise department," Mandi Gobindgarh Induction Furnace Association President Mohinder Gupta told PTI today.

The call of induction furnace owners has for the support of Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bhav Nagar (Gujarat) Steel Association and Import and Export Association. When contacted, Central Excise Commissioner S J Singh stressed that the department was taking steps under the law. "There is no intention of the department to harass any one. We are taking steps as per law," he said, adding that a meeting has been called tomorrow to listen to industry's problems.

The industry accused the department of conducting "unnecessary" checks of shipbreaking material consignment coming from Bhavnagar in Gujarat and declaring the material as unfit for use in induction furnaces.

"They are not allowing us to sell shipbreaking material to traders and manufacturers on unwarranted charges," said Gopal Krishan, induction furnace owner in Mandi Gobindarh.

Industry also said that traders in Bhav Nagar in Gujarat were also facing harassment because of "unwarranted" checks carried out by department, resulting into hampering of trade.

"We are not going to tolerate any kind of harassment forced upon us," said Krishan.

This is the second time within last one month that the Central Excise department has been accused of causing harassment to steel trade of Punjab.

Earlier, steel producers under the banner of Confederation of Indian Steel Producers Association had shown their anguish over the excise duty demand raised by the department from certain rolling mill owners.

The association had charged the department officials of adopting "pick and choose" approach by demanding duty from "select" steel units.

Source: IBN Live. 27 September 2011

No comments: