HPCL staff move PM for relief amid virus crisis

GUWAHATI: Deprived of their statutory dues and salaries for the past 39 months now, employees of the non-operational Nagaon and Cachar paper mills of Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd (HPCL) have requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for immediate relief, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd Officers and Supervisors’ Association has sought immediate intervention to consider release of the pending salaries and statutory dues (PF, Gratuity, Pension and superannuated benefits) taking note that HPCL is a wholly owned central government enterprise.

“Sir, in a public meeting near our Cachar Paper Mill (a unit of HPC), Panchgram held on March 27, 2016 you committed to revive the paper mill which is still awaited. In the meantime HPC has gone under liquidation (vide National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), New Delhi order dated 2nd May, 2019) as neither government of India nor any prospective bidder submitted any resolution plan till date,” the letter to the Prime Minister, read.

“On March 26, 2020, the grant announced by our Union finance minister under your leadership to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 is a boon and widely appreciated from all corners. But the helpless employees of HPC are covered neither by this grant nor financial assistance given by the state government to its citizens,” it read.

“Under this condition, if the central government, being the sole owner of HPC, does not come forward to bear the employees liabilities, then the employees will be totally deprived of their legitimate dues subjecting complete ruin in near future. To the prevailing deplorable conditions of HPC employees, the pandemic of COVID-19 has severely acted upon their lives,” representatives of the association, stated in the letter.

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. As many as 64 employees (including three suicides) have passed away over the past as a consequence of acute financial and mental stress, lack of medical treatment.

“A considerable number of family members (spouse/children/dependent parents) of HPC employees also met premature deaths as appropriate treatment could not be afforded by the unfortunate and help less employees. Presently, apart from common illness, a few employees and dependent family members are suffering from critical illness and are counting their days in the absence of treatment,” the association, said.

 

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