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The day after: a wave of rage over Gurgaon

Wednesday 27 July 2005, by PARSAI*Gargi

Special Correspondent

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A PLEA: A demonstrator taken into custody, pleading with the police, in Gurgaon.

NEW DELHI: On a day on which waves of protest against Monday’s strong-arm police action against protesting workers in Gurgaon escalated and the police continued its battles, industry representatives termed the clash between Honda Motors employees and the police as "unfortunate" and sought flexibility in labour laws to avoid any adverse impact on the flow of investments.

"Such incidents underline the imperative need to bring about effective legislative changes in labour laws and streamline the Industrial Disputes Act," PHDCCI president K. N. Memani said in a statement. "The investment climate gets tarnished because these incidents send negative signals to both domestic and international investors," he added.

Expressing grave concern and anguish over the incident, he said that such incidents gravely undermine the business environment and confidence of potential investors in Haryana.

"Violence of any kind by either party cannot be justified on any grounds. It is the duty of all sections of society to maintain harmony and amicably sort out issues without resorting to use of force," Mr. Memani said.

Expressing similar sentiments, Assocham president M. K. Sanghi stressed the need for flexibility in labour laws particularly in the liberalised economy.

The External Affairs Ministry termed it an "isolated incident" and said it should not become a benchmark for judging the investment climate in India.

Responding to a question on the reported statement by Japanese Ambassador Y. Enoki that the turmoil was a "disadvantage for India’s image as a destination for foreign direct investment and also [a] negative image on Japanese management," a Ministry spokesperson said India’s democratic institutions and its legal system provided an effective mechanism to deal with such incidents in a transparent manner. "The legal interest of foreign investors will be fully safeguarded."

After a CII seminar, Mr. Enoki said the unrest could impact FDI inflows into India but ruled out his intervention in the matter.

See online : The Hindu

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