JAGIROAD, June 9 - A delegation of the Kagaj Nigam Karmi Union (KNKU) on Saturday last submitted a petition to the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal soliciting his government�s support for paving the way for the survival of middle Assam�s only public sector enterprise, the Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM).
The mill, an integrated unit set up by the HPC Limited, has been traversing through an unprecedented financial crisis. Due to the acute shortage of the wanting capital, the production of the mill has become irregular since the unit finds it difficult to go for arranging supply of raw materials and chemicals. The Chief Minister during his meeting with the KNKU representatives reciprocated his concerns over the plight of the mill and assured the delegation of rendering all possible assistance and support to overcome the present crucial scenario being faced by the mill. He assured the delegation that the State Government will try to impress upon the department concerned of the Union Government towards ameliorative steps for the survival of the project in the interest of the locality as well as the State.
In its memorandum, the KNKU urged the Chief Minister his intervention on the following subjects regarding the future of the mill � i) release of necessary working capital by the Govt of India, ii) shifting of the HPC headquarters from Kolkata to Guwahati, iii) arranging financial assistance from the DoNER Ministry, iv) provision of separate balance sheet for NPM, v) granting of status of new industry to HPC, vi) provision of an NOC for shifting on exchange power from ADPCL, vi) ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the mill till the working capital problem is solved, viii) allowing input credit against VAT on bamboo, ix) allocation of degraded wasteland to raise captive plantation and X) initiatives to pave ways for converting the Kendriya Vidyalaya (HPCL, Jagiroad) to a civil sector school.
Speaking to this correspondent after the meeting with the Chief Minister over the subjects, Ananda Bordoloi, general secretary, KNKU said that the NPM had started its production of writing and printing paper commercially from 1985 and since then it has been able to meet 100% capacity utilisation thereby to earn spectacular profits from the financial year � 1996-97. At one time of its existence, it also emerged as one of the Mini Ratna industries in 2009. The mill, according to him, had to face constraints later due to increase in the price of bamboo, coal, lime and allied chemicals, ageing of the machineries etc.
Stating that at such a juncture, the mill needed an overhauling through modernisation and technical upgradation, he hoped that, the new State government will do the needful to impress upon the Centre to enable the mill to overcome its present crisis.
�The HPCL is one of the major suppliers of writing and printing papers of the country, especially in the official and educational sectors at very moderate selling price. But for this, the Indian paper market would have been monopolised by private paper producers,� he pleaded.
The union body also urged the government of Assam to contemplate to source its entire requirement of writing and printing paper from the HPC through a gazette notification to that effort, Bordoloi further added.