The management has decided to close the industries in the Balaju industrial area. This followed the standoff between the management and the workers after a dispute arose after members of a trade union manhandled Giriraj Bhandari, the outgoing general manager of Industrial Development Management Limited. After the arrests of some of the representatives of the trade union others forced the closure of the industrial area. The worsening industry-labour relations and the lack of security were
some of the reasons the management had cited for making their decision. The Balaju industrial
area is one of the largest in the country in which many industries are located, and its closure has much ramifications. The closure would directly affect the workers who work there for they would be without their means for earning their livelihood. At the same time, the common man too is hard hit. For instance, hospitals report a shortage of oxygen cylinders and cooking gas is again in short supply. So it would be in the interest of all the stakeholders to reach a compromise so that the industries could open again. The country is having to pay dearly because of the closure with much revenue lost.
The unrest in the industrial sector is scaring industrialists many of whom are now reluctant to make investments and now appear to be more than willing to fold up their ventures. There have been frequent incidents of strikes and bandhs leading to the halt of production. In this atmosphere of distrust it is difficult for the industries to operate. However, it should be noted that the labourers may have genuine demands which the management have failed to address. In the negotiations in the past the management had agreed to fulfil certain demands, but it is found that some of the industries have not been living up to their commitments. The workers, meanwhile, should refrain from making unreasonable demands, some of which the industrialists would be hard put to meet given the capacity of this impoverished country. Seeing how things are here in the industrial sector it is difficult to see how the government will be able to lure in foreign investment.
For a country to forge ahead in the path of development there should be substantial industrial growth. Seeing that the lack of industrial security is one of the main constraints to this these days, along with disputes, perhaps, as mooted recently, an Industrial Security Force could be of help as demanded by many industrialists. The time now is not to squabble over other trivial things but for the workers and industrialists to work in tandem so that the industries can resume production and the country can see the economic and industrial growth as envisaged by the development planners. The country now is at the crossroads and harmony between the industrialists and the labourers could contribute also in maintaining peace at this crucial juncture. The management and the labourers with differences should sit down for talks accommodating each others’ demand with maximum flexibility so that the productions in the Balaju industrial area again resumes that would be in the interest of all the stakeholders.
The “minute-to-minute” hikes in prices of essential commodities take the average Nepali’s mind on a whirlwind trip that cannot lead to the trickle of the calories that’s so vital to keep the body moving on the healthy mode. Maybe fate has ordained such that labour will remain but the output will be below par. Well, we’ve had a plethora of real and self-professed leaders coming up with the voluble guarantees to raise the living standard of the modest citizens. But, the sound waves have dissipated in the space while the man on the street moves with the cramped stomach of a energy producing machinery all for the lack of raw materials. And, raw materials like cereals, vegetables and the like are proving very daring all because of the so may factors that have been identified in recent times such as low production, profiteering and blackmarketing, supply difficulties, etc.
The search for the saviour continues to this day. One just tries to remember the idea of the fair price shops or the oft-talked about ration cards. Heard about it infinite number of times from those who walked the doors of the voters vocalizing their intent to serve them. But, here the people are still waiting for the promised relief.