Calcutta Port Trust Pensioners’ Association wrote a letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee more than a month before Haldia Bulk Terminals (HBT) exited Haldia, seeking her intervention in saving the port, its employees and pensioners by protecting HBT from trouble created by “vested interest groups”.
“We request you to take an independent view of the situation by engaging an independent, competent officer to submit an un biased opinion to you about the entire matter, before you frame your opinion,” AK Parial, president of the association, wrote.
The letter is dated September 22; incidentally, the same day HBT suspended operations at both its berths.
Parial described, in detail, why HBT’s smooth operations at Haldia Dock Complex were needed to serve the interests of the port, which was already in the throes of a severe financial crisis.
He said that they learnt of the development through media reports and by contacting present and retired employees, and understood that the impasse created by vested interest groups of the private handling agents handling operations was “affecting not only the interest of 9,000 employees but also 30,000 pensioners”.
“We have emotional attachments to the organisation and our livelihood is also dependant on the pension we get from the port,” he wrote. However, they never got a reply from the CM’s office.
Even the Kolkata Port Retired Officers’ Association is worried about the future of the port. Talking to HT, on Tuesday, Amal Chakraborty, president of the association, called the incident a “man-made, intentional act in self-interest by vested interest groups so that they can take over after driving HBT away”.
Pensioners didn’t receive their money on the first of the month for the first time in October and got it in the second week. In November, too, they got the payment on 5th.