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Jun, 10 2015

Maggi scare: 500 contract workers losses their job in Goa plant

Apart from Maggi noodles, the plant also produces sauces, ketchups and soups.

The Maggi ban has not only hit Nestle sale in the country but has brought over 500 contract workers at its Goa plant in soup.

The plant located at Maulinguem, Bicholim would hire 800 contract workers, ever since its Maggi noodles' production lines were shut down on June 5, about 500 workers have been asked not to report to work.

According to a national daily, who reported at the plant they found several grim-faced workers loitering outside the plant's main gate.

Laxman Gaonkar, a worker who was with the company for four years, and yet he and others with even more work experience have been asked not to report to work.

"They told us not to come to work and that they will call us when production restarts," says Laxman. He says he earned a daily wage of Rs 274 and can't think of finding another job since he has no educational qualification.

Till this Nestle plant began operations in 1996-97, agriculture was the only source of livelihood for most of the residents of Maulinguem and its adjoining villages. Today, the plant is a source of livelihood not just to locals but several people from other states too.

Meanwhile, the scene is similar at Jharkhand plant, as about 60 workers from the state have also lost their daily wages in the Maggi row. "My job was to mix maida and other ingredients," says Suresh Singh, who has been working at the plant for the last two years and has no idea what he's going to do next.

His Jharkhand mates claim they have not been paid arrears on their wages by the contractor. "If production doesn't resume soon we will have to look for jobs elsewhere. If we can't find employment here soon, we will have to pack our bags and go back home (to Jharkhand)," says another youngster.

Laxman's colleagues, some of who worked in the packaging section, while others were involved in housekeeping at the plant, wear somber faces; but they all rise in defense of the product 'Maggi noodles' that they produced.

"Most of us would eat Maggi noodles at the factory thrice a week. Some people have even been eating Maggi noodles for years now. None of us have developed any health problems," says Nitin Gaonkar, rubbishing allegations that the quality of the packaged food item has been compromised.

Nitin also claims that many villagers in Maulinguem have developed a "taste for Maggi noodles". "Many eat Maggi at home too," he says.

However according to Himanshu Manglik, media relations manager, Nestle India said,” Bicholim plant has 525 permanent employees and also provided work to 800 contract workers which is reduced to 300" after the Maggi noodles' lines were shut down on Friday, June 5.”

Apart from Maggi noodles, the plant also produces sauces, ketchups and soups.

"Nestle has labs in its factories, including at Goa, that are capable of testing the raw materials and products. In addition we send samples for monitoring at defined periodicity to our central lab at Moga (Punjab)," said Manglik.  

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