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Assam: Workers of Defunct Mill to Launch Fresh Agitation for Dues; Protest on Nov 30

The two mills, which used to employ 1,200 workers in its heyday, have been lying defunct for almost three years now. The ex-employees allege that their just dues have been held back by the parent public sector company.

With no headway in the release of salaries, workers of the now-defunct Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) mills in the Cachar district of Assam have decided to start a fresh agitation for their dues.

As reported by The Assam Tribune, Manobendra Chakraborty, president of the joint action committee of the different mill unions announced that employees will stage a protest on November 30 at 11 AM in front of the office of the Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner in Silchar.

Government-owned HPCL has two paper mills, Panchgram Paper Mill in Cachar district and Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM) in Nagaon district, both of which have been unable to resume operations despite the central government’s repeated assurances for the last five years.

Chakraborty alleged that the employees of both Cachar and Nagaon mills are not getting their salaries and other dues from the last 58 months and 97 employees have already died without treatment due to financial crisis. He added that they have already served notices to the concerned authorities regarding their protest and they will not be held responsible if 'social unrest' occurs due to their protests.

Chakraborty also claimed that the Provident Fund and Pension claims amounting to Rs 145 crores had not been cleared to the workers and employees of Cachar Paper Mill and that they were staging the protest for its clearance as well.

As reported by NewsClick earlier,  production at the Cachar Paper Mill was stopped in October 20, 2015, the NPM shut down operations on March 13, 2017, owing to a “lack of working capital”. However, according to the employees, the production at the paper mill in Nagaon was “stopped abruptly, even though everything was proceeding smoothly.”

However, both mills were declared insolvent on June 13, 2018, as per a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) order after the HPCL had declared itself unable to pay the dues of one of its creditors M/s. Alloys and Metals.

Before closure, the two mills used to employ 1,200 workers.

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