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Assam cabinet nod to Rs 2,500cr for paper mills, microfinance borrowers


Dhemaji, Sept 30: The Assam cabinet on Thursday approved Rs 2,500 crore to acquire assets of two defunct paper mills of PSU Hindustan Paper Corp (HPC) and waive microfinance loans availed by poor women.

Briefing the press after the cabinet meeting here, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Rs 700 crore was sanctioned for the paper mills and Rs 1,800 crore as the first instalment to repay microfinance loans.

"The cabinet approved a Rs 700-crore package for the two paper mills. Out of this, Rs 570 crore will go as a relief package to pay the dues of the employees, while the remaining will be used to pay other bills like electricity charges and payment to the liquidator," he said.

After the due formalities, the 470 acres of land owned by the HPC's unit at Panchgram and Nagaon mill in Jagiroad will be transferred to the Assam government, he said. The Chief Minister said the cabinet, which met outside Guwahati (around 460 km) for the first time, also approved Rs 1,800 crore to waive microfinance loans availed by poor women.

"We are considering those women in the first phase who are paying their installments regularly. This will cover around 11 lakh women, who will be given benefits up to Rs 25,000," he said.

The government will start disbursing the cheques from December 1 and the other categories of borrowers will be covered later, Sarma said.

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