Deol takes up revival of Dhariwal mill with Centre - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Deol takes up revival of Dhariwal mill with Centre


Deol takes up revival of Dhariwal mill with Centre

Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Dhariwal, November 27

The 137-year-old Egerton Woollen Mills, Dhariwal, which once occupied a preeminent place among all textile mills of British India, is now gasping for breath even as MP Sunny Deol is taking up its revival plan with Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. The mill, which once had more than 4,000 employees, now has 300-odd workers on its roll.

Workers have not got wages for the last 26 months. “Employees come, mark their attendance, play cards and leave. Almost 90 per cent of them are under debt. We need a massive dose of oxygen if we have to breathe life into its once-famous brands which have now lost their sheen,” said Gurmeet Singh Bakhatpura, a trade union leader.

IAS officer PS Gill, whose father Manmohan Singh Gill worked as an officer in the mill during its days of pristine glory, recounts how an entire city was established by the British around the entity. “The Britishers established it in 1880 and was the only one manufacturing cloth in undivided Punjab. The town of Dhariwal came into existence because of it,” he reminiscences.

Old timers recall that former five-time MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder nurtured it in the early part of her political career, but later she lost interest when she saw the number of employees dwindling.

The factory was nationalised in 1980, and it stopped generating profit in 1989.

Sources said despite Deol’s optimism, he might not be able to do much because the NITI Aayog had recommended the mill’s closure in 2017.

“In the early 1980s, the government’s policies started favouring private textile factories following which little or no attention was paid to the government-owned factory. Employees started losing their jobs and the development made politicians wary to the extent where they even stopped paying visits. It will be interesting to see how Deol manages to pull the mill out of the doldrums. Its 90 per cent of the built-up area lies abandoned,” said Joginder Pal Lehal, a union leader.

No salary for the last 26 months

Workers of the 137-year-old Egerton Woollen Mills, Dhariwal, have not been paid their wages for the last 26 months. The mill, which once had more than 4,000 employees, now has 300-odd workers on its roll. Old timers recall that former five-time MP Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder nurtured it initially, but lost interest later after she saw the number of employees dwindling.

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