GUWAHATI: Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) Debabrata Saikia has sent a missive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the latter to revive the two HPC (Hindustan Paper Corporation) mills of Assam so as to generate employment avenues and alleviate the economic condition of the State.
Saikia said in his letter that initiation of measures for revival of the Assam-based Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill under HPC is extremely important for Assam and its people. "I was then enthused by the knowledge that revival of these two paper mills of Assam had been a pre-election promise of yours as well as that of the Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal. Alas, my pleas have evidently fallen on barren ground," Saikia said.
He further said that the Ministry of Heavy Industries and & Public Enterprises had communicated on September 20, 2017 that as per proposal of the CCEA and under instruction of the PMO, the Government of India had decided to revive the Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills of Assam under HPC with a time-bound schedule. "Even Assam's Minister for Commerce & Industries Chandra Mohan Patowary subsequently stated in the Assam Legislative Assembly that a revival package worth Rs. 800 crore had been prepared for the two paper mills. I had myself requested the Chief Minister of Assam to sanction a package of Rs. 400 crore so that the paper mills could at least recommence production and thereby earn advance payment against orders from purchasers…I came to know later on that a revival plan worth Rs. 1,900 crore has been lying in the PMO since 2018," the letter said.
Saikia further said that the Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises had stated in Parliament last year that the Government had released Rs. 4,141 crore for HPC between 2014-2015 and 2017-2018. "However, the two paper mills of Assam are now facing liquidation for inability to pay liability amounting to only Rs. 98 lakh. The employees of the paper mills have not been paid salaries for over three-and-a-half years. As many as 67 employees of these mills have died during this period, of whom 3 persons committed suicide under compelling circumstances due to non-payment of salaries/statutory dues," he said.
Saikia requested the Prime Minister to revive these two industries in the larger interest of Assam and India as a whole.