FROM OUR Correspondent
Silchar, July 19: “Prime Minister rendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal have assured that Cachar Paper Mill at Paanchgram in Hailakandi district and gaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district which are the two units of Hindustan Paper Corporation is soon going to be revived and that the due salaries of the employees of the mills will be cleared in due course of time. Efforts are being made by both the Central and State Government to clear salaries of at least 4 months. We should not waste our time pondering over the possible reasons for sudden closing down of the Mill. It is not the right platform to engage in mudslinging,” said advocate Kaushik Rai, former president, BJP state committee, addressing the huge gathering infront of the statue of Shaheed Khudi Ram Bose at Club Road of Silchar on Wednesday.
More than 100 families of the employees of the paper mills staged a dhar and demanded that the paper mills be revived and due salaries be cleared. “We have met and discussed on this issue with the Union leaders and workers at Paanchgram in June 2014. We also met Ant Geete, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in July 2014. Since then we have been regularly in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office. CBI enquiry has been demanded by the employees. Only Monday, Assam Chief Minister met with Prime Minister and discussed about the paper mills,” Kaushik Rai added.
Kaushik Rai also said that the PMO has called upon DoNER Minister Dr Jitendra Singh to have a discussion regarding the paper mills today evening. We are hoping that a solution will come out of it. An 8 year old girl, Dibyanga Dhar daughter of Jyotirindra Dhar, an employee of Cachar Paper Mill, broke down infront of the gathering. Other children who expressed their sentiments included Shilpi Dutta, Dipshikha Ghosh, Dibya Dey, Kaustav Bhattacharjee, Pallabi Das, Anya Pandit and Apar Kurmi.
It should be mentioned here that the employees are passing days in extreme poverty and are living on the verge of starvation due to the non payment of their salaries and other dues for the last 10 months. Till date, 15 deaths have occurred in both Cachar and gaon. Dolly Dey (42), wife of bendu Dey, an employee of Cachar Paper Mill, said, “We are living hand-to-mouth. We had to sell our gold and withdraw money from LICI to meet our daily expenses. We cannot pressurize our husbands since they are also helpless.”
Kishore Bhattacharjee, member, INTUC, said,” There is a syndicate working right behind all this. Once I was an employee of Cachar Paper Mill. The coal scam claimed cost my job. I was suddenly turned out. Though I appealed and won the case after 18 long years, I took voluntary retirement. A CBI enquiry has become must here. Rs 250 crores were taken for modernization of the mill. What has been done with the money? The then leaders associated with this scam should be brought to task. It is not the time to think, it is the time to act upon those thoughts.”
Later, they submitted a memorandum, signed by the family members of the employees, addressed to the Prime Minister and Assam Chief Minister through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar. The memorandum was received by Additiol Deputy Commissioner B C th. In addition to the above mentioned demands, they have demanded their Right to Food to the family members and Right to Education of the children of the employees of the mills be protected. The employees of the paper mills will stage more protest demonstrations.