Delhi High Court keeps mill workers’ hopes up
The Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JACRU) of the two paper mills in Assam on Sunday said it was confident that Delhi High Court’s “strict approach” over the issue would wake the government up and it would discharge all its responsibilities regarding the matter effectively.
Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district have been lying non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017. Their employees have not received salaries for the past 37 and 35 months.
Delhi High Court, in a hearing on February 25, ordered immediate financial succour to the mills’ employees. The court also stayed the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) liquidator’s order of vacating the HPC’s quarters. The hearing was held in connection with a petition filed by the Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union. A copy of the court’s order is available with The Telegraph.
The president of JACRU, Manabendra Chakraborty, told this correspondent on Sunday that the court, in its order, had said that non-payment of salaries to the mills’ workers was a continuing assault on their rights. “This clearly revealed how strictly the court has considered the matter. Such a strong statement by the high court is the rarest of the rare,” he said.
Chakraborty, who has been relentlessly raising his voice over the matter through protests and legal discourse over the years, said they were fully confident that the court’s order would make the government — which had been apathetic for years — realise the sufferings of the mills’ employees and their families.
He made it clear that they would continue their crusade till their demands, including revival of the mills and remittance of all the dues, were fulfilled. He appealed to he people of Assam, irrespective of their political ideologies and identities, to join their movement and save the mills and the people associated with them.
The general secretary of the Cachar Paper Mill Officers and Supervisors Association, Dipak Chandra Nath, said they were not very optimistic about payment of their provident fund. They got an assurance a couple of months ago, but nothing had happened till date, he said.
“During a hearing at Gauhati High Court in December, the HPC liquidator said the employees’ provident fu-nds will be cleared within January 2020. We have not received any money though two more months have passed after January,” he rued. He expressed dissatisfaction over the role of the BJP MPs and MLAs of Barak Valley for their alleged “oblivious attitude” over the matter.