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Strike jolts Hindustan Motors’ auto component project


New Delhi : The workers' strike at Hindustan Motors' Uttarpara plant in West Bengal earlier this year has given a severe jolt to its auto component project, a top official of the car manufacturer said here Monday.

"The seven-week strike at our plant has been a major setback for our auto component project as we lost our credibility. The project was worth at Rs.1 billion and was a part of our revival programme," said R. Santhanam, managing director of Hindustan Motors.

"We are working over it right from the scratch but the four agencies we had identified are still with us."

Last year the West Bengal government had okayed Hindustan Motors' revival and renewal proposal that would bring its automotive industrial complex at Uttarpara back to profitability and financial health.

The proposal envisaged diversification and expansion into the auto component sector by developing automotive forgings, automotive castings and automotive stampings business with cost-effective leveraging of the existing facilities and infrastructure.

But the strike in March-April by the majority workers' union to protest against the suspension of 15 employees and alleged non-payment of salary for two months, took a heavy toll on its production as well as renewal programme.

"We were producing 1,000 units of Ambassador before March and during the strike the production came down to zero. But now about 92 percent of the workforce has signed the settlement and things are coming back into normalcy," said Santhanam.

He the domestic sales of Ambassador cars were expected to pick up gradually.

"Ambassador is doing well now and we will be back to 2,000 units per months very soon. There is good demand in the market. I am not expecting a huge growth but I am hopeful that the brand will make a steady growth," said Santhanam.