The Cachar Paper Mill of Pachgram in Assam’s Barak Valley is witnessing an unprecedented scenario lately.
There is a mad rush for taking voluntary retirement among the workers of the Cachar Paper Mill.
Since last one month, as many as 346 workers have taken voluntary retirement.
The Mill is being closed for last 29 months while the workers are facing tremendous financial crisis.
The mill authorities have earlier issued notice offering voluntary retirement for its workers.
However, it remains to be seen whether the workers availing VRS would be benefitted or emerge as losers.
The last date for applying VRS had earlier expired on March 20.
With more and more workers of the Cachar Paper Mill expressing their willingness to avail the VRS, a delegation of the mill workers met the Assistant Labour commissioner in Silchar and discussed about the predicament.
The commissioner, it is learnt, talked with labour representatives in details and had written a letter to the mill authorities with a plea to extend date.
Accordingly, the mill authorities have extended the date pf submission of VRS applications to April 10 next.
Meanwhile, the Swatantra Union, a labour body in the region is smelling a rat in extending applications deadline.
Union’s president Dilip Suklabaidya was of the view that the voluntary retirement proposal to the mill workers may be a part of a conspiracy.
While expressing apprehension over how the workers will be benefited, the labour union leader has questioned as to how the mill authorities will be able to pay the outstanding amounts to the workers taking VRS. He said, it involves a huge amount adding that it is nothing but ‘a banter’ to the needy staff.
There were around 1,500 workers in the mill that decreased to the present strength of around 700 odd workers. Among them, as many as 346 have applied for voluntary retirement.
The union leader further alleged that it will be practically impossible to revive the mill with the remaining workers and the authorities are drawing up plans to close down the mill forever.
He also appealed to the civil society to come forward to save the only large scale industry of the Barak Valley.