Guwahati, Jun 2 (PTI) All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev on Wednesday urged Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to ensure the revival of the two closed paper mills of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited, a central PSU, and stop the sale of the units to private parties.
In a letter to the chief minister, Dev said that the official liquidator has issued an e-auction sale notice for the sale of Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill.
The HPC's Cachar unit in Panchgram ceased to function since October 2015, while the Nagaon mill in Jagiroad stopped operating from March 2017. No salary was paid to the staff of Cachar and Nagaon units since January and March of 2017 respectively.
'As you are well aware that the employees have suffered loss of their only source of income and even death since the two mills stopped production without even a closure notice under the Industrials Disputes Act.
'These industries have given good dividends in the past and were viable as an industry and with an efficient management in place, I have every reason to believe that these two mills can thrive and provide employment to the youths of Assam,' she said in the letter.
The Cachar Paper Mill is the only public sector industry in Barak valley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly said that these industries will be revived in the greater interest of Assam, she added.
During campaigning for the recently held assembly election, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also renewed his assurance to save the two mills, Dev said.
'In the election manifesto, the BJP promised to re- open the Nagaon Paper Mill though unfortunately there was no mention of the Cachar Paper Mill,' the Congress leader said in the letter.
The BJP government, within days of taking charge for the second time in the state, in its first cabinet meeting had approved the biggest ever investment of Rs 2000 crore to raise its stake in the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL), she said.
It also paid a cheque of Rs 500 crore to Oil India Limited to increase its shareholding to 26 per cent from 12.5 per cent following a bid to privatise it, the Mahila Congress chief said.
The privatization of the NRL, a refinery set up as per the Assam Accord signed in 1985, 'is definitely an emotional issue for the people of the state', she said and urged the state government to show the same spirit in the case of the two closed paper mills.
'I hope the Assam government will show the same spirit and rescue the two paper mills and their employees from going into private hands at a meagre cost of Rs 1100 odd crores.
'You may be aware that the Kerala government took over the unit of Hindustan Newsprint Limited at Kottayam at the price that excluded the cost of land, which was originally given by the state government for the unit,' she added. PTI DG NN NN