Godown inferno smells foul play
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 05: Suspecting foul play in the April 3 inferno at Godown No 2 of Manipur Rubber Plantation located at Uchathel in Jiribam sub-division like the one in 1997-98 which gutted the godown, Labour Union of the Plantation lodged a strong protest to the Additional District Commissioner citing that it was burnt by some employees of the plantation fearing detection of siphoning of rubber sheets may be uncovered.

The godown has no electricity connection and there was heavy downpour when the fire started at around 7pm, mentioned the complaint.

According to report received from Jiribam, there were 27,000 kgs of rubber sheet and 2500 kgs of rubber scrap amounting to a total of Rs 7,61,280 when the incident occurred.

The goods were stored for the last five to six years without holding any tender for disposing the rubber products.

However the tender for disposing the rubber products was held recently by the State Forest Department and was awarded to one M/s Tritex Rubber, Tripura, said the source.

Coincidentally the godown caught fire on the night of April 3 when the company vehicles came to collect the rubber products but were denied permission to upload the product, the source added.

On the next day - April 4, rubber products totaling 6300 kgs which was left untouched by the fire was loaded to a truck of the company.

However, during the loading, a group of labourer led by the Labour Union leaders Kh Brojeshor and H Somorendro stopped the loading contending that the godown was burnt down by some employees of the plantation fearing that the rubber which they had siphoned off to other firms may be uncovered.

The president or the union while alleging the employees and officials of the plantation for stealing called on them to come out in open and confessed for the theft.

The source further added that the Divisional Forest Officer, Jiribam Ch Iboton who is in charge of the plantation was not present at Jiribam at the time of the incident.

During his absence the head clerk of the plantation lodged a complaint to Jiribam police station.

This is the second such incident of its kind.

The godown was also torched in 1997-98 under controversial circumstances in an attempt to hide the misadventures of some officers of the plantation.

In the enquiry, two employees were suspended and another terminated from service after they were found guilty.