Binod Mills, one of the few industries that enriched Ujjain, was closed decades ago and its over four thousand workers were left with no other option but to live a vulnerable life. Since its closure, workers have been fighting for their rights but neither the state government nor the court took them seriously and left them to fend for themselves.
The state government had promised the workers to pay their pending dues to the tune of Rs 67 crore after auctioning 90 bigha of mill land but after some time they were denied payment. Ujjain Mill Worker Association’s president Omprakash Bhadauriya asserted that mill was closed on January 5, 1996 and dues of workers were not settled. After liquidation of inventories and plant machineries, some amount was handed over to the workers but since then workers have been waiting for settlement of their dues. He further said that 4353 workers would get Rs 67 crore.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had promised to settle their dues after auctioning of 90 bigha mill land and the Madhya Pradesh High court has also ordered the same to the government, but the government took U-turn and instead of auctioning the land, they have given the land for ‘Smart City’ project. Bhadauriya said out of 4353 workers, 1800 workers died waiting for their dues and the remaining workers are fighting for justice.
He further said High Court had ordered the government on January 12, 2004 to liquidate the property, but government had filed special leave petition in the Supreme Court. Ujjain was supposed to be hub of textile mills as about half a dozen mills were operational in the city till 1980s.
Most of these mills were operated by National Textiles Corporation and State Textiles Corporation. About 20,000 labourers were employed in these mills. But, production on these mills started decreasing in the wake of failure of mill management to modernise them and to conduct their activities in professional manner. Some of the retrenched workers tried to start powerloom business but they too failed. Hundreds of them died over the time and many of them also committed suicide.