For Ram Bir Panchal, 50, this Diwali is devoid of any festive spirit. An employee of Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT) Limited’s tractor division at Pinjore, with no salary for two years now, his family is finding it hard to make ends meet.
When HT visited his home in HMT Colony, Pinjore, on Friday, a sense of gloom prevailed. This was a day after the Union cabinet decided to close down the tractor division of HMT here.
Bir’s eldest daughter is married. He lives with his wife, Usha, and his 21-year-old daughter. His son, 23, was forced to quit studies after Class 12, so that he could earn a living.
“Due to financial constraints, we are unable to fulfil even the tradition of gifting our married daughter on Diwali,” says Bir, who hails from Kurukshetra.
Usha no longer enjoys cooking because she doesn’t have enough groceries for it.
Bir blames the management for the chaos at HMT. He says if need be, he will move court so that employees like him can be accommodated in another unit. “I will not take VRS,” he says.
“Kya Dussehra…kya Diwali? Yeh toh sab kissi aur din ke baraba r hain humare liye.” (What Dussehra or Diwali? They aren’t different from any other day.