Union Minister of State for Food Processing Rameswar Teli Wednesday urged Heavy Industries Minister Arvind Ganpat Sawant to reopen PSU firm Hindustan Paper Corp's two defunct mills in Assam by either PPP route or privatising them. HPC's Cachar unit in Panchgram stopped working from October 20, 2015, while the Nagaon mill in Jagiroad has stopped functioning on March 31, 2017.
No salary was paid to the staff of Cachar and Nagaon units since January and March of 2017 respectively. Teli wrote a joint letter along with Assam Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Pijush Hazarika and all the BJP MPs from the state. "We strongly believe that the scope of making HPC a viable company still exists, if it is run by efficient professional management with proper modernisation, technological upgradation and financial re-structuring. "This can be carried out by either implementation of PPP model or private takeover initiative," the BJP lawmakers demanded in the joint letter to Sawant.
The letter pointed out that there are nearly 1,200 full-time workers across the two paper mills and they have not received salaries for more than two years. "Both the paper mills' closure have rendered not just the employees destitute, but also a large number of people whose livelihood indirectly depended on it," it added.
The letter highlighted the fact that the Nagain Paper Mill was the first paper mill in the world to produce kraft pulp with 100 per cent bamboo as raw material, while Cachar unit was the only major industrial undertaking in south of Assam. "We would like to request you to kindly look into the matter and resolve the crisis by reviving both the paper mills, which were once the backbone of industrial prosperity in the state," they said in the appeal.
The other signatory BJP MPs are Topon Kumar Gogoi, Pallab Lochan Das, Pradan Baruah, Queen Oja, Dilip Saikia, Rajdeep Roy, Kripanath Mallah and Horen Sing Bey. Earlier in February, Assam Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had informed the Assembly that a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process was going on as per directions of the National Company Law Tribunal. He also stated that HPC had submitted a Rs 1,995-crore revival proposal to the government.
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