Published On: Mon, Feb 6th, 2023

VISP employee ends life in Bhadravathi

VISP employees have continued their protest opposing the move to close the unit in Bhadravathi.

VISP employees have continued their protest opposing the move to close the unit in Bhadravathi.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A contract employee of Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP) was found dead near a marriage hall in Bhadravathi on February 5. Chetan Kumar, 34, is suspected of having died by suicide, hours before his sister’s wedding.

Chetan Kumar’s sister’s wedding was scheduled at Daivajna Kalyana Mantap in the city on Sunday. A day before the marriage, he went missing. His parents filed a complaint with Hosamane Police. He was later found dead near the marriage hall.

The reason for his extreme step is not clear. The family went ahead with the marriage as planned on Sunday. Hosamane Police said that Chetan Kumar had differences with the family members over his sister’s marriage.

Three deaths

VISP Contract Employees Association president H.G. Suresh told The Hindu Chetan Kumar committed suicide as he was upset over recent developments in the company. The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) decided to close its plant in Bhadravathi owing to losses. “Since the SAIL board took the decision on January 16, three contract employees have died. Chetan ended his life, disturbed by the development. He was worried about handling the financial burden.

“He often shared his feelings with his colleagues,” Mr. Suresh said.

Besides Chethan Kumar, Mr. Suresh said, two more contract employees died of a heart attack in the last 15 days. Hemagiri, 40 and Nagaraj, 51, who had put in decades of service in the plant, suffered heart attacks. “Their families lost the earning members. Even after several years of work, they were earning between $15,000 and $20,000 per year. The decision to close the unit came as a shock for them,” Mr. Suresh said.

The employees have been staging an indefinite protest opposing the decision to close it. They have planned to intensify the protest ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Shivamogga to inaugurate the airport on February 27.

“Former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy has extended his support for the employees. Similarly, KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar will be meeting the protesters on February 8. We will request him to join us during the protest during the PM’s visit. We will continue the protest until the decision to close the plant is withdrawn,” Mr. Suresh said.

Those in distress or having suicidal tendencies could seek help and counselling by calling State’s health helpline 104 or Chennai-based Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.

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