NEW DELHI, Feb 21 – An interim solution to the crisis facing the two paper mills in the State may be in sight, with Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain today announcing that three months salaries of the employees would be released immediately.Gohain, under whose constituency the Nagaon Paper Mill is located, told media-persons here that he has initiated the moves on his own to resolve the stalemate. He said that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had gone to the Prime Ministers Office yesterday seeking an early solution to the problem.
Gohain said that he has called on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday and Union Minister for Heavy Industries Anant Geete today, besides the chairman of the concerned subcommittee of NITI Aayog, headed by Amitabh Kant, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the body, in this regard.
Gohain said that he was given to understand that the subcommittee, which had on Tuesday held a lengthy meeting regarding revival of the two paper mills, has decided to release the salaries for three months and clear the remaining amount by June-July.
The Heavy Industries Minister also informed that some bidders for the two mills have approached the government and details, like liabilities of the mills, employees payment, other related issues, are being worked out. The Heavy Industry Ministry is looking into the revival of the two sick mills, Gohain added.
Regarding the controversy over the reported move to privatise the two mills, Gohain said that the task at hand is payment of dues to the employees, while the matter regarding revival of the mills is being looked into.
I have taken up the matter on a priority basis as the employees have gone without payment for months, the Minister of State for Railways said.
It may be mentioned here that the move to hand over the management of the two mills to a third party has triggered a controversy, as the employees have rejected the proposal to privatise the mills. The Sonowal government has been saying that the Centre may hand over management of the mills to a third party but the ownership will be retained by the government.
As reported, Geete yesterday told newsmen that the Centre is planning to hand over the management of the two paper mills to the private sector. He also added that it is only after handing over of the management of the two mills to the privates sector that issues like revival and payment of salaries and wages will be taken up.
It may also be added that State Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary had recently said that the State government has submitted a Rs 1,800-crore revival proposal to the Heavy Industries Ministry. Patowary also said that the proposal includes payment of all dues to the staff and repairing of equipment, besides shifting of the headquarters from Kolkata.
Source : http://assamtribune.com