UCIL shuts offices in state, employees want compensation

SHILLONG: The state-owned Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has said it has been “compelled” to shut down its offices in Meghalaya and terminate the services of all contract workers employed in two of its offices here.
The company has around 10 contract workers in Meghalaya, six at its office in Shillong and four at uranium-rich Wahkaji village.
The UCIL staff here expressed concern over the closure of the office in Shillong. When contacted, an employee said, “We are not sure. We have no problem with the closure of the office but we should be compensated.”
With the management having filed an FIR at Laitumkhrah police station against the staff for allegedly threatening the management, the staff said, “We are not aware of that. The police have not approached us.”
According to sources, the employees prevented the shifting of office furniture outside the state.
The staff said everyone has got the termination letter in Shillong and Wahkaji.
Anti-uranium mining groups like Khasi Students’ Union have been campaigning against leasing out land to UCIL for pre-mining development projects. The group had alleged that it was a ploy to allow UCIL to mine uranium.
“UCIL has been compelled to temporarily close down its establishments in Meghalaya,” a UCIL communiqué quoting its deputy general manager S K Sharma said.
UCIL had started mining activities in Meghalaya about 15 years ago but is yet to receive mining lease and other statutory permissions from the state government. The UCIL official, however, said efforts were on to get the requisite permissions from the state government.
UCIL staff posted at its offices here had lodged strong protests against the company’s decision to shift all materials to its Jharkhand office.
An employee said, “It is true that UCIL is going to close down in Meghalaya. If the staff stops the materials from being taken, they will be charged.”
Recently, the UCIL management had said the office would not be shifted and the employees would be provided accommodation. (With inputs from PTI)

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