From Our Correspondent
Silchar, March 10: Members of All Cachar-Karimganj-Hailakandi Students’ Association (ACKHSA) touched upon the issues and concerns of the employees of Cachar Paper Mill which has been shut down for the last 17 months. The Paper Mill established in 1978 was designed to produce 384 metric tons of paper daily. The Mill which is a unit of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited is situated at Panchgram in Hailakandi district, 25 km from here. The Mill was the only major industrial undertaking in south Assam. In spite of certain bottlenecks, the Mill maintained a record of steady improvement. Several factors stood in the way of the Mill to reach optimum production.
The major one being brazen political interference, gross mismagement and corruption. ACKHSA lamenting the sad condition of the Mill which is now virtually in a dire strait pointed out that unless political intervention is not contained, it will be difficult for it to continue and sustain after it is put on steam. Hitting out at a coterie of magement, politicians, bureaucrats and contractors responsible for the present fate of the Mill, Rupam ndi Purkayastha, advisor, ACKHSA, at a press-meet held in the premises of a hotel here on Saturday said, “We demand CBI probe into the whole gamut of the factors attributing to the closure of a Mill with high prospect and propensity.”
He further pointed out that a huge sum of money was drained out by adopting fraudulent means. A glaring example is of how bamboos of Barak Valley were shown that of Mizoram by manipulating the challans. The quality of bamboos was too inferior which told upon the machinery. Similarly, low quality coal and other raw materials were supplied which played havoc with the entire system. It was mentioned that in 2005, a scheme under the me of varat was launched in a bid to redeem and upgrade the Mill. Rs.550 crore was sanctioned by the Central Reserve Fund for the said purpose. Out of this Rs.550 crore, Rs.250 crore was meant for Cachar Paper Mill and the rest for gaon Paper Mill.
Till date, no steps have been taken for modernization of the Mill. ACKHSA has demanded particular focus of CBI on this draige of public money to identify the culprits. ACKHSA has urged upon MPs Sushmita Dev and Radheshyam Biswas to raise the issue in the current session of Parliament. ACKHSA has given a month’s time to the government for causing the inquiry in order to unearth the scam so long buried in the files. The Association has at the same time requested the authorities concerned to arrange payment of salaries of the employees of both the mills.