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Assam: Paper mill workers demand CM to terminate auction of mills

Assam: Paper mill workers demand CM to terminate auction of mills

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GUWAHATI: Ananda Bordoloi, the General Secretary of the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JACRU) has written to Assam's chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma urging him to terminate the auction of the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills.

Thanking Biswa Sarma for his "declaration on release of salary and arrears to workers of HPC including subsequent steps to revive the Industries", it further requested him to initiate immediate necessary steps to terminate the auction of HPC Paper Mills of Assam. Reg.

We feel proud to convey our heartiest gratitude to your kind magnanimity for your declaration through Press Meet at Delhi on 03-06-2021 wherein you have assured the citizens of Assam that the Salary & arrears of the Workers would be released on priority and your able leadership is having plans to revive both the industries subsequently.

Pointing out that that the Government of Assam, vides a communication dated 10th Sept 2020 addressed to Liquidator Kuldeep Verma expressed interest to take over HPC and therefore, sought 1(One) month time for formulation of the proposals and revival. It later sought a two-month period.

The JACRU has urged Verma to peruse at fresh with the governments of India and Assam "to seek clear intent."

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Paradoxically, it has been observed that the liquidator on his own wisdom notified E-Auction to sale HPC as a whole which goes against the desire & sentiment of the People of Assam.

"In this context it submitted that HPC Paper Industries of Assam besides other movable and immovable assets having Land of more than 2000 Acres in the State of Assam which come under the jurisdiction and subject matter of State," it further pointed out.

The JACRU further pointed out that the Assam government has all rights and jurisdiction to interfere into the matter to terminate the auction process as legally for selling or buying of land the seller or the buyer is duty bound to obtain NOC from the State Government through entrusted authorities.

"It is also pertinent to mention here that the land of the state was allotted for special purposes for installation of industries aiming with industrial development, socio-economic growth and employment generation and if the purposes are diluted or diverted the State has all rights to take back the land at any point of time, because the land is not for sale but for Utilization on special purposes," the communique further added.

The JACRU has further urged Biswa Sarma to initiate necessary actions on topmost priority to release all legitimate dues and arrears of the workers to "save their lives."

The debt-ridden and now-defunct Nagaon and Cachar paper mills of the government-owned Hindustan Paper Mill Corporation Limited (HPCL) may now soon find itself going under the hammer with the issuance of an e-auction notice the content of which was put in a national newspaper on June 1.

The reserve price as per the auction notice was put at Rs 1,139 crore.

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.

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