BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
Guwahati, Feb 3: A delegation of ministers, MLAs and trade union leaders from Barak Valley today met Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at Dispur and urged him to take necessary steps for revival of the Cachar Paper Mill, a unit of state-owned Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL), at Panchgram in Cachar district.
The delegation comprising State Social Welfare Minister Gautam Roy, State Transport and Sports Minister Ajit Singh, MLA Kamalakshya De Purkayastha, trade union leader M Chakraborty raised their voice for revival of the Cachar Paper Mill and requested the Chief Minister to take immediate action in this regard.
The production at Cachar Paper Mill has remained suspended since October 2015 due to shortage of working capital.
Chief Minister Gogoi has assured the delegation during the meeting that the State Government will do the needful required on the part of the state government and would take it up with the Centre at the earliest. The delegation said this to reporters here after meeting the Chief Minister.
They apprised the Chief Minister that there was a huge protest in the past for revival of the paper mill.
Talking to reporters, trade union leader M Chakraborty said the state government should immediately take up the matter with the Centre so that the situation is not deteriorated further.
“The livelihood of 1000 people is directly and of over one lakh people are indirectly involved with the paper mill,” he said.
Sources said the paper mill, the only heavy industry in the southern Assam area, has been running on a loss for the past few years. The mill can produce 1, 00,000 tons of paper annually, but it has been facing frequent strikes. The sorry state of affairs at the mill has threatened the livelihood of more than one lakh people who are directly or indirectly dependent on it.
Some trade union leaders and local MPs recently met Union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Ant Geete in New Delhi and apprised him of the situation at the mill. They demanded Rs 1,000 crore for the mill’s modernization and Rs 500 crore as working capital.
The trade unions proposed a number of steps, including technology upgrade, modernization and renovation, so that the mill, which began commercial production in 1988, can become profit-making once again.