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Jute packaging rule relaxed due to continued strike

Feb '07
The Union government has asked Food Ministry to allow use of polypropylene bags for packing foodgrains and sugar as jute industry strike entered the 34th day.

Mandatory jute packaging norms were relaxed since February 5, following a Union Cabinet decision on January 27.

Refusal of 20 trade unions to reconsider their demand has caused losses worth Rs1000 crore to the jute industry.

The Left Front government has failed to settle the dispute between trade unions and Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA).

Government suspended buying of jute bags after the strike started on January 5, Union Food Ministry officials in Delhi.

Cabinet relaxed the mandatory jute packaging norms on January 27 due to urgent need to pack imported wheat as well as domestic sugar.

West Bengal's jute industry employs around 2,20,000 people and generates more than Rs 4000 crore revenue per annum, may get ruined due to the strike, said Former IJMA Chairman Sanjay Kajaria of Hastings Jute.

As 48 jute mills have shut down affecting production of 1,20,000 ton of jute goods a month new entrepreneurs along with some IJMA members have opened non-union mills, paying workers much less.

Bangladesh has taken advantage of the situation and is capturing Indian markets abroad.

The mill owners have been paying at an average of Rs230 per day whereas workers demand being paid at an average of Rs261 per day.

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