Srinagar: Over a hundred Kashmiri workers engaged at Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electric Project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir have been sacked by CGG-CMEC, a Chinese consortium.
Sacked employees have been protesting against the consortium, demanding their jobs back or compensation in lieu of not being employed.
On July 7, 2007, the CGGC-CMEC (Gezhouba Gourp and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation) was given a contract to construct the dam and power station in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, a disputed territory of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The workers allege that they were sacked despite having a stay order from the court.
One of the sacked employees of the Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electric Project said, “Last month, we took a stay order from the court. Despite that, the Chinese company sacked us.”
Another sacked employee said,”The workers are protesting for their rights. The Awami Labour Union has called this strike, but before that we took a stay order from the court so that CGGC-CMEC (Consortium of China) should not sack any employee. Despite all, the Chinese company has sacked us. We are protesting against this unlawful act.”
The Kashmiri employees are allegedly sacked to provide employment to workers from China.
Many sacked employees are now worried about their future as no opportunity is left for them. They were not even paid any compensation to start any business.
A third sacked employee said, “I have been working in this company for the past eight years. I am sacked because they wanted to recruit a new person in my place. Else, they would have to pay me Rs. 3 lakh (Pakistani rupee) as gratuity. They have sacked me.”
The Awami Labour Union has decided to continue their protests against the Chinese companies for spoiling the career over a hundred employees and their families.
A fourth sacked employee,”We will keep protesting till our demands are met. We are ready to stay here for a month or year and will continue our protest.”
The dam for diversion of Neelum waters through tunnels is constructed at Nauseri about 41 km upstream of Muzaffarabad city and outfall in Jhelum River.
The powerhouse is located at Chatter Kalas in Muzaffarabad. Residents of the region are against the Neelum Jhelum Hydro Electric Project because of environmental concerns and unrestricted displacement of inhabitants sans compensation.