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Sushmita Dev terms 'relief package' to Paper Mill employees' mysterious move

By Staff Correspondent

Silchar, Sept 30: Following a lengthy discussion on Tuesday midnight, the employees of the closed paper mills at Jagiroad and Panchgram under the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) and the State Government agreed to sign a deal under which a relief package will be given to the employees and according to sources, the State Government would also take up the issue with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) seeking possession of the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) assets at Jagiroad and Panchgram for utilizing them in public interest.

However, the newly elected All India Trinamool Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha from West Bengal Sushmita Dev, who is also a former Congress MP from Silchar has questioned the move by the Government saying, " a move which could have come at least five years ago is a mystery. 95 employees of the closed mills have died so far due to direct or indirect reasons."

Talking to reporters on Thursday, Dev alleged, "While campaigning for BJP in the 2016 Assembly elections in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised people that the mills would be reopened. But the deal that was inked by the employees and the State Government in the presence of Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma proves that the promise made by the Prime Minister was a hollow one. The agreement is a strong hint that the mills are closed henceforth."

She added that the relief package, as per the agreement, is in no way equal to settling the dues of the employees for 57 months.

"The contract of supply of bamboo at Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts is still lying in the name of the HPC. Hence, I strongly suspect that the BJP led state government has taken this move to settle the relief package for the employees now only to facilitate a top shot BJP leader's son to discreetly open an Ethanol manufacturing factory on the premise of the closed paper mills," she questioned.

She said that the employees who are living in dire straits have agreed to accept the settlement with the Government for their survival. " People of Assam, and Barak Valley, in particular, have echoed the demands to reopen the closed mills and never wanted the closure or sell out. The State Government headed by the Chief Minister must clear the mystery on striking the deal now," Dev maintained.

On the other hand, when asked for a reaction on the issues raised by the Upper House MP, Lok Sabha MP from Silchar Dr Rajdeep Roy, who is also the state BJP general secretary said, "It is the Congress party that had sent the mills into the ICU. The State Government has taken a decisive move taking along the staff and the union of the closed mills. What the BJP does, it does with a lot of transparency taking people together for which she (Sushmita Dev) need not have to bother."

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