Hailakandi, March 18: Around fifty employees of defunct Cachar Paper Mill under Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited in Panchgram of Hailakandi district today staged one and half hour long dharna protesting the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Barak Valley.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to campaign for the party candidates in Bhatgram of Karimganj district in Barak Valley of southern Assam. Bhatgram is around 25 kms from the mill.
The two paper mills -- Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district -- both units of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited -- have been non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017 respectively. Their employees haven't been paid their salaries for many months.
Till date, 83 employees and workers of both the mills have died allegedly for not being able to afford medical treatment since they haven't been getting any salaries. Out of the 83, three committed suicide.
The General Secretary of Cachar Paper Project Workers and Employees Union (Independent), AR Mazumder said that they protested the visit of Modi in Barak Valley because he failed to keep his promise to revive the mills.
PM Modi earlier promised to revive the defunct mill if voted to power in the State during an election rally in Kalinagar, adjacent to the mill in 2016. Mazumder alleged that the employees are facing extreme financial crisis due to non payment of salaries. Mazumder urged PM Modi to take initiative for the fulfilment of his promise and revive the mills for the sake of a large number of people.