The Assam government on Monday took over the assets of two shut down paper mills of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited for Rs 375 crore, the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led administration said in a press release.
The Nagaon Paper Mill in Morigaon District has been non-operational since 2017 and the Cachar Paper Mill in Hailakandi District was shut down in 2015 due to a default on financial and operational payments on the orders of National Company Law Tribunal.
After the mills stopped their operations, the employees had held several protests and also moved courts seeking to have the facilities revived and their dues cleared. Ninety-five employees died due to poor health since the mills were shut down. At least three employees died by suicide.
On Monday, the press release said that the Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited took over the mills on behalf of the state government after emerging as the winning bidder. The government body had participated in the e-auction process of all the assets, plant, technical area and township area of the mills, it said.
The release said that the government had no stake in the mills but pursued the matter to resolve it on “humanitarian grounds”.
The state government had offered relief of Rs 700 crore, which will be used to clear the dues of the employees of the mills, the release said. The relief package was approved in a Cabinet meeting held on September 30.
“The amount will immensely help and benefit all the employees, workers of Nagaon and Cachar paper mills and their families,” said Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, according to the press release.
The government said Rs 375 crore will be distributed by the liquidator based on the norms of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the move will bring “long-awaited relief to the mill workers”.
The state government is planning to develop lands to accelerate the growth in the region by promoting industrial and economic activities, added the release.