A dawn to dusk Barak bandh call by HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee to reopen Nagaon and Cachar mills, has brought life to a standstill in the three districts of Barak Valley in Assam on Thursday.
The day began when protestors in large number assembled at Silchar’s railway station to disrupt the train services of Silchar-Guwahati and Silchar-Agartala fast passengers which chug off from this station at 7 am and 8 am in the morning, respectively.
Protestors, which included wives and children of the employees of Cachar paper mill chanted slogans in unison sitting on the railway tracks against the state as well as centre’s lackadaisical attitude towards reviving these two mills.
However, timely intervention by the district as well as para military forces, more than 50 picketers were arrested and the train services were resumed after a slight delay.
Before being picked up by police, Shoma Deb, daughter of an employee of Cachar paper mill speaking to Northeast Now lamented of the state in which they are passing each day.
“I have passed my Class XII exams at the beginning of this year yet couldn’t get admitted to a decent enough college for shaping my future. How can I get admitted for my father has not got his salaries for the past 22 months? It gets very difficult to pass even a single month for a salaried person than just imagine how we are passing each day. Heard tall promises from our Chief Minister of reviving it pretty soon and paying back our salaries, but, nothing seems to move to make us happy,” said Shoma Deb.
The agitation didn’t stop just at Silchar railway station. The scenes later moved to the streets where picketers were seen stopping vehicles and making passengers un-board while requesting private vehicles to return back to their homes.
All picketers later on converged outside the Deputy Commissioner Cachar’s office and shouted their heart out to reopen these two mills at the earliest and put on track the lives of thousands of employees, directly or indirectly, attached to it.
The bandh was total in these three districts owing to the support of Left political parties, AGP, Congress and AIUDF combine, along with student bodies of these wings and Al Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students Association (ACKHSA)
Manabendra Chakraborty, chief convener of this committee talking to this correspondent said, “We have called this bandh as the present government in Assam is torturing the people of these two mills. Even the Prime minister of India, instead of sticking by his commitment ahead of the assembly elections of Assam in 2016, is doing everything to destroy this industry. I am glad that the people of these three districts have whole heartedly supported our bandh call and now the ball is in the court of the respective governments, either to revive it, or face the ire of the people in the days to come.”