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Assam: Another Employee of Defunct HPCL Dies, Death Toll Rises to 114

Employee of Cachar Paper Mill died of kidney-related disease before the Assam government could initiate any relief measures.
Assam: Another Employee of Defunct HPCL Dies, Death Toll Rises to 114

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New Delhi: Another employee of Cachar Paper Mill, a unit of the now-defunct Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) Limited, died of kidney-related disease before the Assam government could initiate any relief measures for the employees of the two paper mills of Assam.

As reported by The Assam Tribune, at barely 58 years of age, Cachar Paper Mill coworker Mohan Chandra Deka, a resident of the Jagiroad Constituency in the district of Morigaon, Assam, lost the battle of life and passed away on Monday at around 10 AM at GMCH (Gauhati Medical College and Hospital), Guwahati.

He had a severe stroke and was afflicted with kidney ailments. Every living employee of HPC and Assam's paper mills is going through excruciating pain, worry, and trauma while waiting for the last 73 months for their salary to be paid. They have also given up any hope of living a life with human dignity.

With this, the death toll of employees in the two paper mills, including Nagaon Paper Mill, has gone up to 114, including four who died by suicide.

According to a report in India Today NE, on March 28, 2022, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the assets of Nagaon and Cacher paper mills owned by Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) have been taken over by the state government by paying Rs 375 crore through a transparent bidding process.

Giving a big relief to the ex-employees and workers of the defunct Nagaon and Cachar paper mills, the state government provided a relief package worth Rs 810.02 crore to the workers associated with the mills.

The Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JACRU) have released a press statement stating, "fortunately, Govt of Assam came forward with a relief package to save lives under the leadership of Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma but it is pertinent to note that the irreparable damages already caused earlier, is now resulting in deaths one after another, thus the responsibilities of all such deaths rest on the Government of India & earlier CM of Assam respectively who failed to resolve the crisis on time." 

As reported by NewsClick earlier, both companies 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.

The report also stated that over 1,200 employees from the two paper mills are yet to be paid their remaining monetary dues which include pensions, salaries, provident funds and others.

Several employees of the defunct paper mills continued to protest demanding their rights over the past several years, including extreme forms of protest such as declaring to die by mass suicide. 

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