RELIEF PACKAGE PAID TO EX-EMPLOYEES
GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has blamed it on mismanagement by those at the helm of affairs for the death of the two papers mills in Assam under the HPC (Hindustan Paper Corporation).
Speaking at the ceremonial distribution of relief packages to the ex-employees and ex-workers of the two paper mills at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra today, the Chief Minister said, "The people of Assam had high aspirations with these two paper mills. Everybody knows who is responsible for the closure of these two paper mills. Mismanagement and corruption of the paper mill management made Assam incur huge losses. On behalf of the people of Assam, I severely criticize them (paper mill management). I want the people of Assam to spew their hatred at the management."
The Chief Minister said, "Had the employees of the two paper mills stood against the mismanagement or moved the court against them at that time, the situation would not have come such a pass today. I appeal to other PSUs (Public Sector Units) in the state which witness mismanagement to raise their voice with courage now. If they cannot do that now, they will meet the fate like that of the two HPC mill employees."
Sarma further said, "It is a positive day today when the uncertainty hovering over the future of the HPC employees for the past five/six years came to an end. The State Government will have to spend around Rs 810 crore from negotiations with the liquidator, taking over the mills, clearing bank loans etc., to making payment of arrears salaries and pensions of the ex-paper mill employees. This effort will benefit 2,751 ex-employees of the two paper mills. Our earlier estimation was Rs 650 crore. However, it escalated to Rs 810 crore. We paid Rs 178 crore – Rs 80.70 crore for Jagiroad paper mill, Rs 83.12 crore for Cachar paper mill and Rs 12 crore for HPC's Kolkata-based employees – as arrears salaries and LIC premiums. The pension of the employees will be regular shortly. We set up a Rs 25-crore corpus fund with AIDC and the paper mill ex-employees association. It will generate Rs 2-crore interest annually. The amount will be a succour for the employees for their medical treatment and other requirements. Each of the ex-employees will get around Rs 5 lakh-40 lakh in the relief package. I appeal to them to invest this amount cautiously."
The Chief Minister said, "We had been trying since 2016 to sort out the problems of the paper mill employees. We did take up the issue with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. We took the decision. It took time to materialize the decision because of the financial back-up involved."
The State government re-employed 66 of its promised 83 ex-paper mill employees today. They got their appointment letters from different departments.
Also Read: What CM Himanta Biswa Sarma wants to do with paper mill lands