A government report on the two paper mills tabled in the Parliament recently has once again opened the Pandora’s Box with the grave issue of the paper mills in Assam.
As per the report Rs 4,141 crore was reportedly invested by the ministry of heavy industries and public enterprise (HIPE) over a period of four years – from 2014 till 2018 – for the two paper mills.
In connection with this report, the president of Cachar Paper Workers’ Union (INTUC), Manabendra Chakraborty, has sent a letter on Friday to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (AGI), demanding a high level investigation into the matter.
Chakraborty claimed that “no such funds were received by the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) as reported”.
Talking to Northeast Now over this issue on Friday, Manabendra Chakraborty said, “Today, I have filed a letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India demanding a high level investigation, with a copy to both the Prime Minister of India and Chief Minister of Assam.”
“In this report, that was tabled in Parliament on July 9, it was clearly mentioned that, Rs 1,141 crore was given to HPC in 2014-15, Rs 1000 crore in 2015-16, Rs 1000 crore in 2016-17 and again Rs 1000 crore in 2017-18,” said Chakraborty.
“It is really surprising that if such a huge investment has been made during those years, how come both the mills are still lying non-functional,” he questioned.
Chakraborty, who is also the chief convener of HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee, has spearheaded many movements to reopen both these mills.
“Why did the Centre not pay M/s Alloys and Metals of its due of Rs 98 lakh from their crores of investment that they are now showing in order to stop this firm from filing a case with the National Company Law Tribunal against HPC?” Chakraborty questioned.
“Why have the mills not been made functional and the salaries of workers pending for 30 months have not been paid till date? Where has the money gone? It should be found out,” said Chakraborty.
Chakraborty also informed, “It is the biggest scam of the heavy industries ministry. The period in which they have reported on ‘investing’ in HPC, both the mills became dysfunctional (Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi in October 2015 and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district in March 2017) due to dearth of ‘working capital’.”
He also claimed that 57 employees of both the paper mills had to die due to starvation or unable to pay for their medical bills.
“Three of the employees went to commit suicide. We shall wait and watch as to what steps are taken in unearthing this hard earned public money,” he added.