Assam govt assures protesting paper mills employees of Rs 600 cr grant to clear pending salaries
Providing much-needed relief to the protesting employees of Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills, Assam cabinet minister Pijush Hazarika on Saturday assured them a grant of Rs 600 crore to help clear their pending salaries.
“The government is aware of the employees’ situation and is very keen to sort out the issue. In lieu of their requirement of Rs 530 crore, we are ready to give them a grant of Rs 600 crore. We will sign an agreement within one week and the process of releasing their pending salaries will start,” said Minister Hazarika, adding that they will also provide government jobs to the sons and daughters of the paper mill employees who are competent.
The announcement came after the employees of Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills under the Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) staged protests in Cachar and Nagaon against the notice served to them to vacate their accommodation/ quarters within 15 days on September 4.
The notice asking the employees to vacate their quarters was sent by Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) liquidator, Kuldeep Verma on Friday, stating that those who won’t comply will be liable to legal action.
"Since your employment with the Corporate debtor came to end with effect from 02.05.2019 or earlier due to superannuation/resignation/death or termination from the services or the Corporate debtor, your occupation of the accommodation/ quarters occupied by you is unauthorised and you are required to vacate the same… within 15 days of this notice (sic)," read the notification.
The notice was issued keeping in mind the “maximum value” while selling the paper mill, which would be "necessary to get vacant possession” of land and buildings in the premises, mentioned in the notice.
"We will not vacate our quarters until all our dues are cleared. How could Kuldeep Verma serve us an eviction notice without clearing our dues? If we are forced to vacate our quarters, we won’t be responsible if any untoward incident ensues," said a protestor, adding that till date, the employees haven’t received salaries for the past 55 months. “Clear our pending salaries in one week and we’ll vacate the quarters,” he said.
Monobendra Chakraborty, president of Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JSCRU) of the two Paper Mills of Assam, said, "How can he serve a notice to the employees who are going through a tough phase without salary for last several months. If they want to vacate the quarters they will have to kill us first. We are ready to fight and shed blood but will not vacate our quarters without our dues."
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