GUWAHATI: The Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JACRU) of two paper mills in Assam, in association with the HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee, will stage a sit-in demonstration in Silchar on January 26 demanding revival of the two ailing paper mills and payment of dues to its employees before the state elections.
The sit-in demonstration will be preceded by a candle light procession in Silchar on January 25 to pay tributes to the 80 employees of the two mills who died of trauma and lack of medical treatment since the mills ceased to function.
The 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.
Employees of the two mills have not received their salaries for the past 48 and 46 months respectively. Of the 80 deceased, four died by suicide.
Irked at the alleged government apathy, JACRU president and chief convener of HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee, Manobendra Chakraborty said that over the years, we have been given only “false assurances” regarding revival of the mills, but nothing has been done.
The groups warned of an agitation of a bigger scale if the demands were not fulfilled before the state Assembly elections which are likely to be held in April this year.
“If the government does not fulfill our demands before the Assembly elections, we will stage massive protests when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal visit Barak Valley to seek votes from the electorate. We plan to go door to door to share our woes with the people and let them know that the government has not lived up to its (pre-poll) commitments,” he said.
Members and supporters of Jatiya Shramik Shakti, a sister organisation of the newly-floated regional political party, Assam Jatiya Parishad, had staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the Nagaon Paper Mill entrance at Jagiroad on Thursday demanding revival of the mill.
JACRU convener Baharul Islam Barbhuiya further slammed the BJP leaders of Barak Valley for their silence over the condition of the Cachar Paper Mill, the only industry in the industrially-backward valley.