Silchar: The employees and workers of Cachar and Nagaon paper mills are caught in a blind, being pushed to the extreme financial crisis. Their very sustenance and survival are at stake. For the last 24 months, they have not been paid their salary. Their families due to non payment of salaries of their guardians are upset and see a dark future lurking before them. In a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar submitted today by the HPC Paper Mills Revival Committee, Panchgram, Manobendra Chakraborty, chief convener, brought to the fore the “matter of grave concern following the commitment of the Central government to ensure reopening of the mills and payment of salaries in order to protect the lives and employments of the employees and workers.”
Non payment of salaries is resulting in mental and psychological torture on the employees and till date as much as 49 of them have faced premature death. Added to this is the irregularities in the payment of salary prior to 24 months, pointed out Manobendra Chakraborty. He described the attitude of the authorities concerned as inhuman. Many more wait for their premature death. In the meantime, condition of Partha Deb, an employee has fallen sick due to starvation like situation. Unable to afford to have any medical care and attention, his condition has deteriorated for the worst and now he is admitted in the ICU of a private nursing home here.
Partha Deb could not even claim his medical expenses as enjoined upon the authorities of the mill. It is also most unfortunate that even when the Parliament approved Rs.90 crore for payment of salaries and other dues of the employees at the recommendation of the President of India, the government withheld the payment on fictitious and illusory grounds, alleged Manobendra Chakraborty. The HPC Mills Revival Committee has taken up the issue of great concern with the Prime Minister, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Chief Minister of Assam and all higher officials, drawing their attention to the critical condition of Partha Deb. The Revival Committee has urged upon them to initiate immediate action to save the life of Deb and preempt further deaths.
The series of agitation programmes so far taken up by the HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee have failed to move the government, both the Centre and the state. The Committee has now decided to bring out a candle march on December 24 which will begin from the entry gate of Cachar Paper Mill, Panchgram in order to highlight the plight and pathetic condition of the employees in distress. Partha Deb will be the focus of attention mainly to expose the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned. The Committee has demanded release of Rs.20 lakh as compensation to all those families whose earning members have died due to mental and psychological torture.