Independent MLA and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reconsider the proposal to e-auction two defunct paper mills of state-owned Hindustan Paper Corporation.
In a letter to Modi, Gogoi said the government should instead revive and modernise the two units of Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill.
The auction is slated for June 30 and the reserve price for bids has been fixed at Rs 1,139 crore and the last date of submission is June 15.
"I hope you would look into the matter urgently so that the e-auctioning of the Nagaon and Cachar Mills could be cancelled," Gogoi wrote.
Emphasising that the two plants were symbols of modern Assam's economic prosperity after the oil and tea industries, the MLA said in the letter that the two public sector industries are a source of livelihood and hope for thousands of employees.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party was kind enough to recognise the plight of these industries. In April, 2021, promises were made that the BJP-led government in Assam will not only revive the paper mills but augment production, increase bamboo production in Assam and scale-up paper distribution all over India.
This was a matter of sheer happiness not only for those beleaguered employees, but also for Assam"s industrial prospects. However, the latest notice for an e-auction would indeed be a severe blow to all those promises," Gogoi said.
He urged the Prime Minister to initiate measures to turn these into profitable enterprises like the "Navratnas" and "Maharatnas" of India.
Gogoi also citing success stories from different states, suggested for optimal utilisation of the vast expanse of lands that the two mills own and develop them into industrial zones for the state's MSME industries.
HPC's Cachar unit in Panchgram stopped operations on October 20, 2015, while the Nagaon mill in Jagiroad was defunct on March 31, 2017. No salary was paid to the staff of Cachar and Nagaon units since January and March of 2017, respectively, officials said. 87 employees have lost their lives for the devastating economic crisis they had underwent.