Workers’ union slams Centre stance on Assam paper mills

GUWAHATI: Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union has slammed the Union heavy industries and public enterprises minister, Arvind Ganpat Sawant’s reply in the Lok Sabha against revival of two paper mills in Assam as misleading and “breach of privilege of Parliament”.

The minister had in Parliament reiterated the National Company Law Tribunal’s May 2, 2019 order to liquidate Hindustan Paper Corporation, which owns the Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad and Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram.

However, a three-judge bench of a higher court, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), headed by Justice S.J Mukhopadhaya on May 29, 2019 ordered the prohibition of liquidation of the two mills.

The workers’ union had challenged the May 2 order of NCLT at the appellate tribunal.

“The colonial attitude of the Centre is still continuing to deprive the people of the Northeast and such suppression of the order of the law of the land bears testimony to it. Such as stance may be taken to avoid liability and responsibility entrusted by the citizens of Assam,” Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union president, Manobendra Chakraborty told The Shillong Times on Wednesday.

Chakraborty alleged that the minister had made a rather misleading statement and breached the privilege of the House despite the workers’ union’s earlier request to Rajya Sabha chairman, Venkaiah Naidu to rectify the statement.

“I had written to the Rajya Sabha chairman to rectify the statement when it was made in response to a question from MP, Ripun Bora. But it has been repeated unfortunately,” he said.

Production in Cachar Paper Mill has been suspended since October 20, 2015, while operations at Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad came to a halt on March 13, 2017.

The NCLAT also asked the government not to suspend the employees in both the paper mills. Besides, the tribunal reportedly asked the liquidator Kuldeep Verma to handle the pending salaries and bonus of the employees from the government’s consolidated fund.

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