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Assam Congress chief writes ‘fourth letter’ to PM asking intervention in Paper Mills’ auction

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By Devabrata Dutta

GUWAHATI: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for his intervention to stay the auction of the two paper mills of Nagaon and Cachar under Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd.

In his letter, Ripun Bora has mentioned that it is his fourth letter to the office of Prime mInister since 2018 regarding providing a special economic package to revive the two paper mills of Assam “which have been closed down without any proper notice.”

Bora wrote, “While acknowledging my letter by your office in every acknowledging letter it was assured that the matter would be looked into properly and we people in Assam were in great hope that the two paper mills will be revived soon.”

It was also mentioned in Ripun Bora’s letter that former and Finance Minister Late Arun Jaitley and current finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had also assured to revive these mills “very loudly and clearly” including the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election campaigns in the state during 2014, 2016, 2019 even in recently concluded Assembly polls.

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“The employees of these two paper mills, their family members, the people, bamboo growers, unemployed youths, small businessmen, bamboo suppliers etc in particular and the people of Assam in general are expecting that Govt will never go to take such harsh decision to sale these two paper mills to private parties with huge landed property more than 2000 acres of land,” said Bora.

The officers and employees association of the two paper mills moved NCLAT and NCLAT on order dated 29-05-2019 passed order directing Govt of India for infusion of Funds to ensure that the company remains a going on company while Assam govt vide petition dated 10-09-2020 expressed interest to take over the two industries, it said.

Bora in his letter has also mentioned about the employees’ condition over the past years, who have not got paid in years, and how more than 100 employees died without any medical treatment and severals died by suicide out of depression.

“It is infact a gross violation of God gifted and constitutionally protected human rights by depriving
the employees from their due salary and allowances. Considering the present horrible economic condition and Covid-19 pandemic situation you are requested to please release all the outstanding salaries, allowances and other dues to the employees and officers of the two paper mills without further delay,” Bora opined.

The auction process for the state-run Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) is underway and the liquidator has notified that an auction will be held on June 30 of 2021 from 10 am to 6 pm.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in New Delhi in May 2019 ordered the liquidation of the two paper mills under Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited in Assam.

It is worth mentioning that the Assam government can also take part in the auction process.

The paper mill in Cachar ceased functioning in October 2015 while the Nagaon unit has been non-functioning since March 2017. Employees have been deprived of their due salaries since 2017 itself.

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