Saturday, Sep 24, 2022
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The Working Drones

Ex-unionists head state units. But can they pull up labour, push up productivity?

The Working Drones Swapan Nayak

Dilip Mazumdar, still sprightly at 65, strides briskly into his squeaky clean chamber after a hectic day. Since the morning, the chairman of West Bengal Industrial Infrastructural Development Corporation (WBIIDC) has had two meetings with business delegations, visited one of the growth centres, and was back to keep his evening appointment with the media. But people who know him will tell you he's not your typical manager. In fact, Mazumdar is among a rare breed who's crossed over from the opposite side—former trade union activists who are now running some of the premier state-owned units in West Bengal.

And he is not alone. There's Rajdeo Goala, chairman, Calcutta Tramways Corporation (CTC), Benoyendra Chakravarty, chairman, West Bengal Small Industries Development Corporation (WBSDIC), and Braja Mukherjee, who heads the West Bengal Khadi Board. Obviously, the Left Front government here feels that such appointments will ensure higher productivity and improved labour relations in state units. Some even believe that it is a way to reward people who have aged or become redundant politically. That may explain why all the four were leaders of the CPI(M)-affiliated CITU.

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