Assam
CITU activists stage a protest in Dibrugarh demanding revival of the two paper mills of the state

Activists of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) on Saturday  staged a demonstration in Dibrugarh in protest against the Centre’s decision to auction the two defunct paper mills under the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) in the state.

The workers of the papers mills demanded the revival of the paper mills.

The activists sought the intervention of Prime Minister Nadendra Modi, urging him to withdraw the auction notice issued by the official liquidator to auction the Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill.

The liquidator has notified that an e-auction will be held on June 30.

While the reserve price has been set at Rupees 1,139 crore, the earnest money deposit amount has been set at Rupees 55 crore and the minimum incremental bid is Rs 1 crore.

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In May 2019, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) in New Delhi had ordered the liquidation of the two paper mills

“We want to remind the BJP about the promise made by Union home minister Amit Shah during his election campaigns at Sarbhog in Barpeta on April 4. Shah had promised that his government will not only revive the two paper mills, but also augment paper production Assam,” said a CITU leader.

“Now they have made a U-turn on their promises by announcing the auction of the two paper mills. A suitable revival package should be prepared to protect the two paper mills and the employees,” he said.

The Nagaon Paper Mill in Morigaon district has been closed (without notice) since March 13, 2017, while the Cachar Paper Mill in Hailakandi district has been closed (also without notice) since October 20, 2015.

Over 2,500 employees of both the mills have not received salaries for over four years.

Recently, the Joint Action Committee of Recognized Unions (JACRU) alleged that 88 poverty stricken employees of the two mills have died being unable to afford medical treatment, while four of have committed suicide.

“The government should take necessary step to revive the two defunct paper mills. Many workers who are associated with the paper mills are in bad condition and looking for a hope that the state government will revive the paper mills,” said a protester.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com