The Assam government will acquire the assets of two defunct paper mills of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited and provide Rs 570 crore to its employees as part of a relief package according to an agreement.
According to the agreement, Rs 570 crore will be disbursed within two months on approval of the proposal by the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), permanent employment will be given to 100 workers in state government entities through a special recruitment drive, and all doctors, auxiliary nurse-midwives and other paramedics will be given employment. The relief package will not prejudice the claims of workers fighting legal cases pending at various courts, according to the agreement.
The four-hour-long discussion between the government and the unions of the two mills ended at 2 am on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, following which the agreement was signed.
"Finally reached agreement with the workers and employees of Hindustan Paper Corporation to resolve long pending issues of their salaries and dues. Discussion lasted over 4 hours in my office and concluded at 2 AM. Back to home now. Will leave for north Assam tour at 8 AM," Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.
Finally reached agreement with the workers and employees of Hindustan Paper Corporation to resolve long pending issues of their salaries and dues.Discussion lasted over 4 hours in my office and concluded at 2 AM. Back to home now. Will leave for north Assam tour at 8 AM— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 28, 2021
The Cachar Paper Mill in Assam's Hailakandi district has been non-functional since October 2015, while the Nagaon Paper Mill in the state's Morigaon district has been shut since March 2017.
95 mill workers have died since 2015, traumatised by no pay, the unions told NDTV. Three allegedly died by suicide, blaming stress for their deaths in the alleged suicide notes. Over 1,200 employees are still waiting for their dues and only last month were served eviction notices.
In a statement, the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unionconveys (JACRU) of the two mills thanked the chief minister for the relief package and welcomed the efforts to revive the Hindustan Paper Corporation.
"We are grateful that the precarious condition of the employees touched the heart of the chief minister and he decided to take the initiative to resolve the various issues and we are sure that the clauses of the agreement will be followed and implemented within the stipulated period," said the JACRU statement.