HAILAKANDI, June 7 - Various resolutions were taken in the citizens� meet held recently at Panchgram in Hailakandi district for the revival of both the Cachar and Ashok Paper Mills of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited.
The citizens� forum demanded immediate revival of both the mills, keeping its central public sector enterprise status intact, and opposed any form of privatisation of HPCL. It also demanded recruitment of local unemployed youths to fill vacancies at both the mills.
The forum also demanded restoration of normal activities at the Kendriya Vidyalalyas of both the mills by employing teaching staff. The meet unanimously decided to start a movement for the revival of the mills after the Ramadan month is over.
It may be mentioned here that the production of paper was suspended in the Cachar Paper Mill on October 20, 2015 and the Ashok Paper Mill of Nagaon was closed on March 13, 2017. The salaries of the employees and labourers of these two mills are still pending.
The meeting was convened by two leading citizens of the Panchgram area and was addressed by Algapur MLA Nijam Uddin Choudhury, former MLA Ataur Rahman Majharbhuiya, Supriya Bhattacharjee of CITU, Baharul Islam Barbhuiya, Manabendra Chakraborty of INTUC, among others.
They alleged that both the Central and State governments are totally reluctant towards the revival of these two mills. They said the mills were in good conditions when production was suspended. There were huge amount of raw materials, including 50 MT bamboo, 12 MT coal and 800 MT lime, and these are now getting damaged.
They termed the closure of the mills a deep-rooted conspiracy for the benefit of private paper companies. They said the government is purchasing per MT paper at Rs 95,000 while the HPCL sells the same in competitive market at Rs 49,000 per MT.
They also expressed serious concern over the shortfall of paper supply despite its rising demand in the country which imported paper worth Rs 7,014 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 8,237 crore in 2016-17, besides rapid increase in the consumption of paper in the country, which would rise to 20 million tonne by 2020. They demanded a thorough enquiry into the entire episode.
The citizens� forum said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 27, 2016 promised before the people that these two mills would be revived immediately if the BJP came to power in the State, but the promise is yet to be fulfilled.
The meeting also mourned the death of 34 employees of both the mills due to poverty after the suspension of production. Of them, one committed suicide. The meeting also observed one minute silence over the death of these employees.