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Maoists shut down Dabur factory in Nepal

world Updated: Sep 02, 2008 19:12 IST

IANS
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After stopping the annual beauty pageant sponsored by Indian ayurvedic giant Dabur's subsidiary in Nepal, Maoists have now shut down its factory in the Terai, demanding 10 percent bonus.

Sunday, when Nepal's first Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" tried to allay fears of the international community and called for greater foreign investment in priority sectors, the Maoist trade union at Dabur Nepal's factory in Bara district shut down the plant indefinitely.

Dabur Nepal on Tuesday confirmed the closure to IANS but did not provide any immediate details.

Its senior officials on Monday met the newly appointed labour minister, Lekhraj Bhatt, who also belongs to the Maoist party, and Shalik Ram Jamarkattel, Maoist arliamentarian and chief of the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (Revolutionary), the powerful Maoist trade union, urging them to get the closure lifted.

Jamarkattel reportedly said he would look into the incident.

The closure came after a 72-hour ultimatum by the union.

It had issued a press statement on last Wednesday (Aug 27) at the Dabur Nepal factory at Rampur village in Bara district on the Indo-Nepal border, giving the company a 72-hour ultimatum.

The union is demanding a 10 percent bonus, failing which, it said the factory would be shut down from Sunday.

It also rejected the profit figures made public by Dabur Nepal last week.

While the company authorities put the profit figure for last fiscal at NRS 25.6 million, the union says it is not the actual figure and is demanding that the "real" profit be made public.

It also said that though it had placed the demands before the company last week, these were not heeded.

Dabur Nepal is one of the largest tax-paying companies of the Himalayan republic as well as its biggest exporter.

The Bara factory is said to employ about 700 people.

Nepal's new Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam on Monday pledged to restore law and order and rule of law, and said people who tried to take the law in their own hands would be brought to book, irrespective of their political affiliations.

During their 10-year war in the past, the Maoists had shut down several Indian joint ventures and burnt down Dabur's apiary.

However, after they signed a peace pact in 2006 and returned to the mainstream, the Maoists promised not to threaten industries and stop imposing closures.