G.K. Nair

Kochi, Dec. 18

THE long-awaited re-opening of the Travancore Rayons Ltd (TRL) at nearby Perumbavoor, which is under lay-off for about five years, is likely to become a reality soon as the Chief Minister has asked the promoters to complete the formalities before January 30 and reinstate the first batch of employees in the first week of February.

The Joint Convenor of Rayons Samrakshana Samithi, Mr P.V. Sukumaran, told Business Line that the Chief Minister had given the direction after a meeting with the promoters, Coimbatore-based NDEE group, at Perumbavoor on Saturday.

He said the Chief Minister has asked them to complete all the settlements with banks and trade unions before January 30. The government will provide all support for re-opening of the company in the first week of February, he said. The promoters have agreed to deploy the first batch of employees in February first week for the maintenance of the unit.

Meanwhile, the discussions with the Indian Bank by the promoters for a onetime settlement on Saturday was successful as the bank is understood to have agreed in principle the proposal made by the promoters. The group reached a one-time settlement (OTS) with the IDBI early this month.

As the next step after reaching OTS with banks, the promoters will be holding discussions with the trade union leaders next week.

The discussions with the unions will cover a proposed restructuring/re-phasing process of the work force as part of the revival package, trade union sources said.

It is understood that the promoters might effect a reduction in the number of workers through VRS and re-deployment elsewhere.

This is probably the first time that the rehabilitation proposal of a private party has received unanimous support from all the trade unions as well as the ruling and Opposition parties alike, including the CITU, they said.

As per the rehabilitation proposal, the promoter is to invest Rs 530 crore spread over a period of five years for modernisation of the company, they said. In the first year the promoter will invest Rs 60 crore for renovation of the existing plant. All the old machinery will be phased out in three years, they added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 19, 2005)
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