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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Lockout at Manesar plant, but Maruti to stick to facility

Press Trust of India, PTI  New Delhi, July 21, 2012
First Published: 18:27 IST(21/7/2012) | Last Updated: 19:50 IST(21/7/2012)

Three days after workers at Maruti Suzuki's Manesar plant in Haryana went on a rampage, an official of the carmaker on Saturday declared a lockout at the violence-hit facility, saying the company could not risk life and safety of its employees.

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Maruti Suzuki India chairman RC Bhargava, who was addressing a press conference here, also termed reports of Maruti planning to shift from Manesar as "absolute fiction".

"There is now a lockout. To me, what is more important is safety of my colleagues than producing some cars to make some money (sic)," Bhargava said. MSI general manager (HR) Awanish Kumar Dev was burned to death and 90 officials and supervisors were injured when violence broke out at the plant in Haryana on July 18.

Bhargava said production would not resume till the investigation was completed. "Corrective steps are being taken to ensure that there is no recurrence of violence," he said.

On plans to shift the production facility to an alternate site, he said: "Talks of Maruti unit moving out of Manesar is an absolute fiction.... We are not moving the plant out of Manesar. Maruti is the flag-bearer of industrialisation in Haryana."

Bhargava's statement came following speculation that MSI might shift the Manesar facility to Gujarat where it has already announced expansion plans. With a 3,000-strong workforce, the Manesar plant produces some of the best selling cars of the company, including SX4, Swift, Dzire and A-Star.

Bhargava said the MSI management had requested the Haryana Government to expedite the inquiry into the incident.
"Besides, the company will have its own probe," he said. Asked if some workers involved in the incident could be taken back, he said:"If they are not a risk (to the company), they can be taken back," he said.

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