NGT ban hits Cachar Paper Mill hard

SHILLONG: A major paper mill in the Northeast, which depends on the coal from Meghalaya for producing paper, is facing the threat of closure following the NGT ban on mining and transportation of coal.

Cachar Paper Mill, a unit of Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd, a Government of India enterprise located in Barak Valley of Assam, has written to the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma for restoration of coal supply for the survival of the paper mill.

Azizur Mazumder and Dipak Nath, the General Secretaries of Cachar Paper Project, Workers and Employees Union and Cachar Paper Mill Officers and Supervisors Association, respectively in a letter addressed to the Chief Minister seeking his intervention said that after the supply of Meghalaya coal to the paper mill stopped completely since May 15, there is only 12000 MT coal in stock.

“Production of the mill depends on coal supplied from Meghalaya which is only viable source and the mill production will have to be stopped within this month due to crisis of coal,” said the letter which was also addressed to the Chief Secretary.

According to the employees, the mill requires more than 550-600 ton of coal per day. Without coal the mill cannot operate as coal is essential to produce steam for cooking bamboo-chip to produce pulp, drying of paper as well as to

generate power.

The employees said that ultimately, this will have a negative impact not only on the performance of the mill but also on lakhs of people directly or indirectly associated with the mill activities.

The employees reminded the Chief Minister that alternate procurement of coal cannot be made as the mill is not connected with Broad Gauge (BG) railways and any motorable highway.

Till BG railways line and express highways become operational, Cachar Paper Mill will remain 100% dependent on Meghalaya coal, the employees said while making an appeal before the Chief Minister to allow them to procure coal from Meghalaya before the mill shuts down.

“Presently, the Mill is having sufficient stock of bamboo (around 90000 MTG) for the

current financial year which is worth around Rs 35 crore. If this stock of bamboo is not

utilized in time, the quality will degrade and will not be suitable for use”, the employees said.

According to them, the mill will face huge financial loss due to this. Planning for production and further procurement of bamboo along with other raw materials will be affected and sustainability of the mill is under severe threat, they said.

The employees said the Cachar Paper Mill has been manufacturing both writing and printing papers since 1988, overcoming all geographical and transport bottleneck constrains. It is the only Heavy Industry of South Assam region providing livelihood to lakhs of people and plays an important role in the economy of the region, they added.

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