The Assam Congress has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop the auction of two state-run closed paper mills of the state.
The Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad and Panchgram Paper Mill at Jagiroad run by Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) have remained closed since March 2017 and October 2015.
The employees of both the paper mills have not got salaries since 2017.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora in a letter urged PM Modi to recall the auction notice issued by the official liquidator on June 1.
Bora also urged Modi to assist the state government in reviving the two mills.
The Assam PCC chief pointed out that the Prime Minister had made repeated commitments during the election campaigns of 2016, 2019 and 2021 that the two paper mills would be revived by giving a special economic package.
“Other senior BJP leaders, including Sarma and his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal, had also assured the people of the state that the two paper mills would be revised at any cost as it is the “lifeline of the people of Brahmaputra and Barak Valley”, the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Against this backdrop, the employees of these two paper mills, their family members, bamboo growers and suppliers, unemployed youths, small businessmen and the people of the state in general expect that the government will not take the hard decision to sell the two paper mills built on over 2000 acre of land to private parties, Bora said.
“I urge you to explore a comprehensive plan of revival of the two paper mills, prior to its sale to a third party in the same way the Kerala government took over Hindustan Newsprint Limited, a subsidiary of the HPC,” he said.
There is every possibility that the state government can protect these two public sector undertakings to “honour their commitments to the people of Assam and the Centre may please assist the state government in this regard”, he added.
“Considering the present economic condition and pandemic situation, you are requested to release all the outstanding salaries, allowances and other dues to the employees and officers of the two paper mills without further delay,” said the Assam Congress chief.