Hyderabad, Feb 20 (IANS) The closure of Gitanjali Gems Park here following the raid by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam has hit about 600 families and led to protests here on Tuesday.
Demanding alternative employment, workers of the gems processing unit of Gitanjali staged a protest at the park located in Ravirayala village of Maheswaram ‘mandal’ on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
The protesting workers said the unit was suddenly closed on Saturday as the management informed them that there is no work as the gold, diamonds and precious stones were seized by the authorities on Friday.
The closure of the unit has badly affected the workers who include 200 physically handicapped. They sought immediate intervention by the Telangana and the Central governments.
Trade unions and political parties are backing the demand of the workers. Local legislator T. Krishna Reddy of Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) addressed the agitating workers and expressed solidarity with them.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said the interests of the workers should be protected by providing them alternate employment.
The workers said that since the then Andhra Pradesh government had given the land to the company on condition that the processing unit would provide employment to locals, it is the the responsibility of the Telangana government to provide them alternative employment.
It was in 2005 that then Congress government had allotted 171 acres of land to Gitanjali for setting up Gems Special Economic Zone (SEZ) named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Five units have come up in the SEZ and this includes Gitanjali’s unit.
The ED over last few days conducted nationwide raids at properties owned by Gitanjali, owned by Mehul Choksi, uncle of fugitive diamond jeweler Nirav Modi, the main accused in Rs 11,300 crore PNB fraud.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had last week registered fresh FIRs against 10 directors of the Gitanjali Group of companies on charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Prevention of Corruption Act.