Employees of Maruti Suzuki in Japan waiting to come home | india | Hindustan Times
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Employees of Maruti Suzuki in Japan waiting to come home

As the nuclear crisis in Japan deepens, Indian engineers employed with car firm Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) are eager to return home. Manpreet Randhawa reports.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2011 19:58 IST
Manpreet Randhawa

As the nuclear crisis in Japan deepens, Indian engineers employed with car firm Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) are eager to return home.

Around 130 Indian engineers of the MSIL, 12 of them from Punjab, are working at the Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) in Hamamatsu, a city in Japan's western Shizuoka Prefecture, on a design project from two years.

Though their project work is not complete, they have asked the MSIL to bring them back to India, fearful for their safety due to the crisis at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Some employees' families are also with them.

The SMC is the parent company of the MSIL, and has a 54% share in the joint venture at Gurgaon.

Hamamtsu is about 300 km from Tokyo and about 550 km from Fukushima. The employees say nuclear radiations from the power plant would affect them.

"We are very scared. Our parents and family members are equally worried about our well being, and make frantic calls asking us to come back to India immediately," an engineer told HT on the phone from Hamamatsu.

"The possibility of a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima has further disturbed us." Another Indian employee said the SMC had told them "not to make the issue public".

The Delhi resident added, "Though the management both in India and in Japan are frequently holding meetings, they are unable to decide and act."

Some other Indians working in Japan have been flown back by their companies. On Wednesday, nearly 320 Indians came back from Tokyo.

"In case they want to evacuate us from here at the last moment, it might be too late," the wife of an MSIL engineer said.

A spokesperson for the MSIL said that the management was in constant touch with the Indian engineers.

"We have been told by our Japanese counterparts that they are safe there. We understand that the situation is alarming but Hamamatsu is cut off and quite far off from the epicentre of the earthquake," the spokesperson said.

"It is situated in the southern part of the country whereas the damage occurred in the northern-east part."

But Indian employees said the MSIL management back home perhaps did not realise the seriousness of the situation.

"There is also a shortage of water here," one of them said.

Bring Indians home: Singla
Punjab Congress MP from Sangrur Vijay Inder Singla on Thursday took up the issue of making arrangements for Indians in Japan to return home, with the ministry of external affairs.

"The Japanese government may for obvious reasons downplay the long-term dangers of radiations," Singla said.

"Therefore, we need to speed up efforts to save all Indians citizens."