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Hindustan Paper Corporation liquidator assures revival of Assam mills

Cachar Paper Mill in Hailakandi and Nagaon Paper Mill in Morigaon are non-functional

By Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee in Silchar
  • Published 27.02.20, 12:22 AM
  • Updated 27.02.20, 12:22 AM
  • 2 mins read
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A slogan on pending salaries painted by employees of Cachar Paper Mill on the factory wall (File photo)

The liquidator of Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) told Delhi High Court on Tuesday that measures would be taken to revive the two paper mills in Assam and that the process would be started in the next few weeks.

The Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district have been non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017 respectively. The employees have not received their salaries for 36 and 34 months respectively.

A press statement issued on Tuesday evening by the joint action committee of recognised unions of the mills said a hearing, in connection with a petition filed by Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union, was held on Tuesday. During the hearing, the liquidator submitted a written reply that steps to revive the mills as “going concern” would be initiated and the process would start in the next few weeks according to the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on May 29, 2019.

The Centre and central provident fund commissioner, who were to submit their replies over the issue on Tuesday, did not do so. They were directed to submit their replies on the next date of hearing on March 25. Besides that, the high court extended the stay on the liquidator’s order of vacating the HPC’s quarters till the next date of hearing, the statement said.

HPC’s liquidator had on December 23, 2019, ordered that all HPC’s quarters have to be vacated by January 31 this year. Subsequently, the Cachar Mill Workers’ Union filed a petition in Delhi High Court and appealed for a stay on the order. The court stayed the vacate order on January 28.

Manabendra Chakraborty, president of the union, told The Telegraph on Wednesday that he was hopeful the mills would be revived and two lakh people associated with them directly or indirectly would be saved. He hoped the government would discharge all its responsibilities effectively and fulfil its commitment of reviving the industries which it had made to the people of the state.

Dipak Chandra Nath, general secretary of Cachar Paper Mill Officers and Supervisors’ Association, claimed the statement by the liquidator was “fanciful and baseless” as assurances of revival have been given “countless” times, but nothing has happened till date. “The liquidator’s statement on reviving the mills has no guarantee. This is a conspiracy to kill time with false promises and make the employees suffer,” he said.

He alleged that the government was behind this conspiracy so it can somehow get away with the responsibility of remitting the pending salaries and other dues of the employees.