Thiruvananthapuram: The National Textile Corporation Limited's Parvathy Mills spread around 16.40 acres in the heart of Kollam city stopped production in 2007. But around 50 employees get their salaries for doing nothing. A showroom in front of the mill that gets stock from their Coimbatore mills does a roaring business with last year's turnover being Rs 1 crore.
Earlier, the Parvathy Mills, which comes under the Union ministry of textiles, had 750 employees.
A year before it stopped production citing modernisation, 380 employees opted for a voluntary retirement scheme. But others have been reporting for duty with none to supervise though.
When DC approached them, they were reluctant to open up for fear of losing their salaries. Then one employee said they were on the wrong side of the age and found it difficult to get a new job.
"We are living at the mercy of NTCL. Some of us have been awaiting the outcome of our VRS application. There is no hope of reviving the Parvathy Mills," he said.
A top Kerala-based official said they were getting "idle wages".
"The top NTCL honchos in Kerala are also not hopeful of its revival. We cannot compete with private mills across the country. The ball is in the ministry's court to decide on how to utilise the facility," he told DC.
Once known as A. D. Cotton in 1884 by its British founder A. D. Cotton, it was the lifeline of the then Quilon, the business capital of Malabar coast. The NTCL took it over in 1974.
The Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction had in 2005 listed it for privatisation, but the Parvathy Mills Workers Union resisted.
During the V. S. Achuthanandan ministry 2006-2011, the then labour minister P. K. Gurudasan strived hard to protect the interests of the workers. But things didn't work out.
Kollam MP N. K. Premachandran said that he had held three meetings with NTCL officials in New Delhi. He is batting for a textile park under the ministry there.
"NTCL had gone to Supreme Court as part of reviving it as a joint venture. Tenders were also floated, but it reached the Kerala High Court and then to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the textiles ministry was not interested in its revival. The defunct mill's machinery has all become outdated," he told DC.
Its land is valued at more than Rs 500 crore. The machinery has rusted beyond revival.
Since 2014 there were efforts to utilise the vast land for a medical college. But since the land belongs to the Union government, that was ruled out....