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KSU shuts down Dalmia Cement for ‘cheating’ locals
SHILLONG/JOWAI: Members of the Khasi Students’ Union on Thursday closed down Dalmia Cement plant in East Jaintia Hills for allegedly duping locals worth crores of rupees.
The KSU alleged that the cement plant has cheated locals who supplied coal to the company and sold transit challans for transportation. One coal trader, Basterwel Bareh of East Jaintia Hills, has lost more than Rs 1.76 crore.
According to KSU president Ohibait Dkhar, Bareh had an agreement with the company that Dalmia Cement would buy transit challans from him for transportation of coal to the plant.
“However, after the agreement was made, the company fraudulently procured around 33,420 challans worth Rs 1.67 crore without the knowledge of the coal trader,” Dkhar said, adding, “The decision to shut down the company was taken after a series of meetings with the company officials in Shillong and Guwahati but with no satisfactory outcome.”
The union informed that many local coal suppliers in Jaintia Hills are facing similar problems but owing to the absence of documents or agreement papers, they were sceptical to come forward.
The plant authority said they knew nothing about the agreements and blamed the marketing and coal units for the confusion.
After the KSU locked the main office building, the weightbridge and the main entrance, a magistrate arrived and advised both the parties to resolve the matter. He also requested KSU members not to disrupt law and order.
In a statement, a Dalmia spokesperson said, “Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited has a business tradition of 80 years with the Lumshnong plant operating for 10 years. We are committed to the cause of providing livelihood to the people of Meghalaya.”
The spokesperson added that the dealings in the current case were done through a third party coal supplier and there was a written agreement, which was also discussed many a time in the presence of other mediating agencies.
“All commercial commitments have been completely and fully honoured. We have produced all the relevant documents to the local authorities. Such an arbitrary and illegal action affects the livelihood of hundreds of workers,” the statement added.