Bhuvendra Pal’s eyes sparkled with hope after he heard that Nestle is all set to restart production of its popular instant noodles -- Maggi.
The 22-year-old son of a farmer from Bareilly in Uttar Pradeh had waited for five long months after he lost job in June owing to a nationwide ban on the instant noodles. He was among the 1,100-odd contractual workers who became jobless following the ban.
But now things are slowly changing for workers like Pal. The contractors are once again calling them.
“My contractor has made a new job card for me and I am waiting to join the plant,” Pal told Hindustan Times on Thursday.
With the Diwali festival round the corner, Pal has plans to spend the Rs 5,200 that he will earn for the 26-day contract at the plant.
Two of his friends – Triveni Pal and Mukesh Kumar — who also hope to get work at the Nestle plant have accompanied him from Bareilly.
“We are six brothers with six bighas land back in our village in Bareilly. It is just not enough to feed the family of four, therefore I have come to Rudrapur,” said Triveni Pal.
Nestle’s announcing to restart production of the instant noodles later this month has kindled hopes among stakeholders. The Rudrapur plant is one of Nestle’s biggest plants that manufacture Maggi.
Though Nestle is all geared up to restart production, the state government is yet to make its position clear on lifting the ban.
State food safety commissioner Om Prakash said, “The government is taking legal opinion and shortly we will decide whether to lift the ban on Maggi or not.”
Nestle is also fighting a legal battle with the state government in the high court.
Food safety and standards authority officials collected more than a dozen samples of Maggi from Rudrapur city.
According to Manish Sayana, chief food safety officer, Rudrapur, monosodium glutamate also known as MSG – an artificial taste enhancer – was found in the samples.
“The amount of lead content found was under permissible limits,” he told HT.
Despite the state government’s stance on the restarting of production, the mood outside the Nestle plant here at the State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited industrial area is cheerful.
“We have raw material ready with us, the contract workers have been kept on stand-by and wrappers have also come,” said an employee at the plant.
It is also business time for Raju Kanwal, a supervisor working with a private contractor. Raju did not divulge details about hiring but said “good days are ahead”.