Guwahati: Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma distributed the relief package to ex-employees and workers of Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (Liquidated) in a program held in the city on Thursday, where he outrightly blamed the HPC management for its failure to keep both the efficient plants working. The humanitarian gesture of the State government, taken through this relief package, will cost an amount of Rs 810.02 crore and is expected to benefit 2751 employees of both the mills, including 748 contractual workers.
In his speech, Sarma stated that the government had taken this initiative considering the hardship the ex-employees, workers and their families had to endure following the non-operation of both the mills for the last 5 to 6 years. When the BJP-led government first came to power in Assam, it took several steps such as providing free electricity, scholarships to children of former employees etc. In the second term, with the guidance from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, the decision was taken to buy both the paper mills to address the issues.
He informed that during this period, the State government held several rounds of discussions with the employees union of both the paper mills and took the decision to pay net salary and wages to the employees and workers that were due till the time of closure of the paper mills and also employing eligible employees of the mills in the government.
Sarma declared that under this relief package, a trust would be created with a financial outlay of Rs 25 crores and this would be utilised for various purposes like medical benefits, educational support, social assistance etc of the ex-employees and workmen. He also announced that the government would put efforts into opening a new paper mill at the Cachar mill plot. In contrast, the land of the Jagiroad mill would be utilised to expand the capital region. He revealed that the government is planning to construct an eight-lane superhighway for speedy transportation between Guwahati and Jagiroad.
With critical comments against the HPC management for its utter failure to keep both the plants working, Sarma also lamented that some workers should have come forward. In contrast, they might have witnessed anomalies in the functioning of both the paper mills. He mentioned that whenever any abnormality in any PSU comes to knowledge, it must immediately be brought to the government’s notice so that appropriate measures can be taken to address the matter.
He urged the ex-employees of both the paper mills to make judicious use of the money they received. Sarma also distributed appointment letters to 66 eligible ex-employees employees (out of 84) in the same function, which was attended by State ministers Chandra Mohan Patowary, Bimal Borah, Atul Bora, Parimal Suklyabaidya, Ajanta Neog, Jogen Mohan, Ranjeet Kumar Dass, Sanjay Kishan, UG Brahma, Piyush Hazarika, Nandita Garlosa, AIDC chairman Prasanta Phukan with other dignitaries.