Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hunger pangs do not amuse, not even Jamshedpur’s Nicco Amusement Park employees

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, May 25: Housed in the lap of Jubilee Park is Nicco Park popularly known among tiny tots and the not-so-young as the Jubilee Amusement Park that has shut its gates of fun and frolic since the last 14 months due to the COVID lockdown phases. Nicco Amusement Park that had been doing business through innovative amusement enclaves within the considerably large expanse since more than a decade, never saw the ticket turnstiles stop. The 31 employees were paid salaries between the ranges of Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000. But the essay terminated 14 months ago when the Jubilee Park gates were bolted and along with it the entry points to the Nicco Amusement Park.

The financially hit employees were paid 60 percent of their salaries in March, 2020. Thereafter, from April, 2020 to March, 2021, they were paid ad hoc allowances at a flat rate of Rs 6,000 each. The hammer fell on the 31 families when the Nicco Park management announced that the ad hoc payments would end from April, 2021. Where were they to go and which door were they to knock were questions that still remain unanswered.

In between their catch-22 situation, a colleague, Dinabandhu Doloi who had given all of 19 years to the Nicco management, died on April 24 while undergoing treatment at MGM Hospital. His final rites were performed the following day, on April 25. The management of Nicco Park did not show even a semblance of help. Instead, the remaining, financially battered 30 employees pooled their resources with the help of social and political organizations helped in performing Doloi’s funeral rites and provided some succor to the deceased’s family to survive on.

GM of Nicco Amusement Park in Jamshedpur, PK Banerjee when contacted over phone said that the management was helpless as expenses were met through daily sales proceeds. He said that Nicco Amusement Park management had been trying since November, 2020 to get the Jubilee Park chapter started but Tata Steel authorities in charge of the Park and those in the district administration were not willing to risk a reopening. Banerjee said, “We are sensitive to the conditions of the employees. In fact, Nicco management is regularly discussing about all problems and trying to find solutions. When the Jamshedpur unit closed down due to imposition of lockdown in 2020, we tried our best to pay the Jamshedpur employees from our fast dwindling resources. We had to pay for maintenance and salaries to the guards. Our finances hit rock bottom and we were forced to discontinue the ad hoc payments being given to the employees after March, 2021. Till such times as the Nicco Amusement Park is provided permission to recommence business, we are helpless. But we are trying.”

Well, the Nicco Park management may be trying. It may be helpless. But how long can the hungry, 30 surviving employees can keep their fingers crossed? The Nicco management knows that these employees too are helpless. “The management is trying,” is one of the many vague terms that cloud the stark reality of hunger and possibly death.

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