Guwahati, Feb 1 (PTI) Assam government today said the Centre has decided to hand over Hindustan Paper Corps defunct Cachar and Nagaon paper mills to a third party to revive the units at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore.
"The revival of the two paper mills is confirmed. The Government of India has decided to give the units to a third party for its revival and is likely to float tenders soon for Expression of Interest," Assam Commerce and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said at a press conference here.
The Assam government has been persuading the Centre regarding revival of the factories, but got delayed because of payment issues to clear dues and repair machineries, he added.
"We need around Rs 1,800 crore to revive the units. For that, the managements of both the units need to change. There was allegation of huge mis-management and it led to closure of the units," Patowary said.
Although the management is likely to be handed over to a third party for the revival package, the ownership will remain with the Central government, he added.
"The state government is very sympathetic to the cause. Even after handing over the units to a new management, the jobs will be same for existing staff. We had a discussion with the Centre on this just 15 days ago," the Minister informed.
The Nagaon units last production day was March 13, 2017 with an output of 270 tonne against an installed capacity of 300 tonne a day, while the production at Cachar Paper Mill has been stopped since October 2015.
In July 2017, Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM) Officers and Supervisors Association president Hemanta Kakati had said that if the government provides Rs 900 crore, then both the units could start functioning immediately.
"Out of these, Rs 500 crore will be required for paying the pending dues and salaries to the staff and Rs 400 crore as working capital for both Nagaon and Cachar units. However, the total liabilities, including vendors payments, of the two factories currently stands at Rs 1,400 crore," he had said.
The two units have a total staff strength of around 1,500 and installed capacities of one lakh tonnes each per annum.
Kakati had also informed that over two lakh people were indirectly engaged with the two units and if the government does not revive these, economy of North East will suffer a lot. PTI TR RG
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