One month of HBS govt: No mention of reviving of Assam paper mills
The newly elected chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday completed one month of his tenure and addressed the media citing the ‘achievements’ of his government within the time frame. From success in managing Covid 19 outbreak in the state without imposing a complete lockdown to the declaration of two national parks in the state, the chief minister pointed out the tasks his government has done and also promised to do a complete overhaul change in the administrative systems of the state in the next six months.
However, in a statement released by the chief minister’s office (CMO) or his statement during the press conference, there was no mention about several other vital issues of the state like the implementation of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Clause 6 of Assam Accord as well as on the reviving of the two paper mills of the state.
He said that the government would not speak on certain matters but would rather act. He said, “Instead of speaking to media and grabbing headlines, our government will focus on delivering and will hold talks with the stakeholders directly.”
Besides CAA, the state has been witnessing uproar and an array of protests after an advertisement was published to auction the two paper mills of the state.
The two paper mills – Cachar Paper Mill in southern Assam’s Hailakandi and Nagaon paper mill in central Assam’s Morigaon district – have been defunct since 2015 and 2017 respectively, and have been going under the hammer as auctioning to liquidate their assets will begin from June 15.
During the election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also promised to revive these industries and give life to the thousands of people who have been deprived of their salaries for over 50 months.
The shutting down of operations in the two mills has leftover 1,200 employees careworn due to non-payment of monetary dues. Many have allegedly committed suicides also during the period.
In June 2018, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) directed the initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), 2016 against HPC, which had earlier submitted a Rs 1,995-crore revival proposal to the government. During the hearing, the NCLT ordered the liquidation of the two mills, although the BJP-led state government had been promising revival of the two plants since former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal assumed power in 2016.
However, after several rounds of meetings between all stakeholders and a number of hearings, the NCLT on April 26 ordered the liquidator to sell HPC, as per the decision of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
The reserve price for bids in the auction has been fixed at Rs 1,139 crore and the last date of submission is June 15. The auction is slated for June 30.
On Tuesday, jailed anti- CAA activist and Sibsagar MLA Akhil Gogoi too wrote to Prime Minister Modi to reconsider the Centre’s proposal to auction the two state-owned, now-defunct Hindustan Paper Mill Corporation Limited (HPMCL) mills.