In a shocking incident, perhaps the first of its kind, a public sector unit employee committed suicide after the company he worked for was put on the auction block for sale to private parties by the Modi government.
Venkatesh (29 years) was employed in the Dredging Corporation of India Ltd. (DCIL) at its Visakhapatnam headquarters. He was the lone bread winner for his family which included his two sisters and parents. On 4 December, he committed suicide “in protest against the Modi government’s decision to completely privatise” DCIL, according to a statement by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).
Earlier, Venkatesh along with other DCIL employees had met the local BJP MP and MLA and urged their intervention against the privatization move. Both had refused to help on the ground that the BJP’s central government had already taken the decision to privatise.
In a suicide note left behind by Venkatesh, he wrote that his frustration and decision to commit suicide was because of the Modi government’s decision to privatise DCIL as well as the BJP MP and MLA’s refusal to intervene.
Workers and executives of DCIL have been agitating against the privatization decision for many days. According to CITU, the “financial performance of DCIL is excellent” and it had been generating profit. DCIL maintains national maritime and navigational facilities of waterways including all major and minor ports. It provides dredging services to keep ports and channels navigable to facilitate smooth movement of vessels with larger draft. DCIL is sought after by foreign clients too and earns precious foreign exchange for the country.
“Handing over DCIL to private business is a criminal compromise with the economic strength and interest of the nation and is yet another instance of of transferring national assets to private capital by the corporate-captive Modi government,” said Swadesh Dev Roye, Secretary of CITU.
Under the Modi govt., Rs.1.25 lakh cr worth of public sector assets have been sold off to private hands till date.
CITU has demanded adequate compensation to Venkatesh’s family and employment to a member of the family besides reversal of the decision to privatise DCIL.