• Assam Govt. willing to purchase defunct paper mills for Rs 300 crore


    Guwahati: The state government of Assam has offered to purchase all assets of Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) mills located at Jagiraod and Panchgram at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

    A month ago, the Assam government had announced its willingness to acquire all 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.

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    According to the agreement, ₹ 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.

    In its latest development, a month after committing to pay the dues of the employees, the government has appointed the Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited (AIDC) as the nodal agency to acquire the assets of HPC paper mills.

    Earlier, on the directions of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the liquidator had on June 1 issued an e-auction notice at the portal of the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation for sale of the HPC in liquidation as ‘going concern’ at a ‘reserve price’ of Rs 1,139 crore. No one registered for the auction.

    Meanwhile, the government has further initiated for a ‘negotiation’ of the said amount ‘if required’.

    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.

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    95 mill workers have died since 2015, traumatised by no pay, the unions told a national daily. 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.

    Creditors of HPC are yet to receive an outstanding amount of over Rs 550 crore, while the suppliers’ credit also stands at a whopping Rs 200 crore. The Assam government, which is still supplying electricity to the quarters, has got Rs 200 crore of royalty and other bills, The total liability stands ar over Rs 1,200 crore.

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