P. Rajeev, Industries Minister, Kerala has said that Kitex Garments was inspected after receiving complaints from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over poor wages and inadequate facilities.
Government representatives also visited the Kitex factory in Kochi to take stock of the situation after receiving several complaints from the NHRC. However, the department hasn’t initiated any action against the company.
The Kitex Group employees staged a mass demonstration protesting against the alleged interference in the company’s functioning by State Government officials.
The Kerala Government and Kitex Garments are yet to reach a consensus after the company threatened to scrap the Rs. 3,500 crore project.
The Minister said, “What is clear is that neither the State Government nor any department had initiated any checks or action. The Government did not conduct the checks suo motu. It was based on various complaints including that by MP Benny Behanan and MLA PT Thomas to NHRC.”
The Minister further said, “There was an audio clip of a lady stating that there were Covid-related issues in the company and subsequently the health department conducted checks. There were also complaints about workers not getting minimum wages and them being made to stay without adequate facilities. If the company found any issues with the checks, they should bring it to the notice of the State Government or specific department. They directly went to social media. The allegations they made are serious.”
Sabu Jacob, Chairman Kitex Group said that there is a deliberate attempt to portray him as a troublemaker. He said, “My firm was hunted like an animal. No one came to help me. I have the freedom to choose my way. The Government is giving the impression that the Rs 3,500 crore project never even existed. I have already received invitations from about nine states. Discussions are underway with ministers and other officials. It will take a little longer to make a final decision.”
In another development now, Karnataka has also offered the huge incentives to the company so it can invest there.
Gunjan Krishna, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director of Industries and Commerce, Karnataka has written to Sabu M. Jacob. The state offered 25 per cent capital investment subsidy (without cap) on fixed assets like land, building, dormitory, ETP machinery. Investment subsidy for anchor industries up to Rs. 7-10 crore, 5 per cent interest subsidy on term loan for 5 years, concessional registration charges (0.01 per cent of value), 100 per cent exemption of stamp duty, 40 per cent grant support for fixed capital investment in factory buildings’ common infrastructure, 50 per cent subsidy on fixed capital investment in CETP, CSTP up to Rs 5 crore are the major incentives on the capital expenditure side.
Other incentives are power tariff subsidy up to Rs. 2 for 5 years, wage subsidy of up to Rs. 1,500 per employee per month for 5 years, 75 per cent reimbursement of ESI & EPF for 5 years, 2.25 per cent of turnover as investment promotion subsidy for 6-10 years for 40-60 per cent value of fixed assets are the incentives on the operational expenses side.