By:- Pritish Raj
While Maruti Suzuki is undecided on where to relocate its Gurgaon plant, most workers are believed to prefer Dharuhera in Haryana, persons familiar with the views indicated to FE. The Gurgaon plant is being relocated following complaints of traffic congestion from civic bodies and local residents. The Dharuhera site is approximately 40 km away from the Gurgaon facility and the land has been offered by the Haryana government. Other options given by the government are in Karnal, Rohtak, Faridabad and Sohna.
“The problem with far off locations such as Rohtak, Karnal and Faridabad is majorly with the permanent workers who have managed to buy their own house in Gurgaon over a period of years and it would be impossible to commute daily from these locations for work,” one source said.
Maruti Suzuki India declined to comment on queries sent.
“The favourable location is Dharuhera for us (permanent workers), as there is a possibility of daily commuting, although there still are problems like extended hours due to travel,” said Rajesh Kumar, president, Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union.
The Gurgaon plant has around 2,400 permanent workers and over 4,500 temporary labours. The facility manufactures over 6 lakh units after it reduced output by dismantling the second line of production.
Even for the contract workers or others who live in a rented accomodation, the shift to these three locations will be problematic as their children will have to change schools and working wives will also have to suffer, another person said, on condition of anonymity.
The opinion at the plant is, however, divided, as the contract workers who are living here without family members do not have a problem moving to any location in the state, he added. Kumar said around 80% of the permanent workers have bought house in Gurgaon and some are still paying their EMIs and shifting to far off location would add an additional burden in the form of rent. The transfer would only be smooth if the company arranges for accomodation for its workers, he added.
The company’s Gurgaon plant is the oldest in the country, built in 1980s, following a second plant in Manesar and third in Gujarat. Across its two plants in Gurgaon and Manesar, the company has a production capacity of 15 lakh per annum and with the help of the Gujarat plant, the company aims to increase the capacity to 22.5 lakh vehicles per annum by 2020.
An industry expert, who did not wish to be identified said, shifting of the Gurgaon plant is necessary for the company if it wants to grow in terms of production and innovation. “The resistance from workers is natural in situations like these but I am sure the company will find a solution to it,” he added.