State to complete HNL takeover this month

A view of the Hindustan Newsprint Limited in Velloor, Kottayam.  

The long wait for revival of the debt-ridden Hindustan Newsprint Limited (HNL) at Velloor in Kottayam is about to end with the State government set to take over the company by June 30.

Official sources said a delegation from the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Kinfra) led by general manager T. Unnikrishnan recently visited the HNL campus while a seven-member committee led by A.P.M. Muhammed Hanish, Secretary, Department of Industries, would soon visit the industrial unit and roll out a plan of action.

The previously Central public sector unit, located on 700 acres provided by the State government, had shut down its production plant about two years ago citing losses. The State government kickstarted efforts to take over the company in 2017 soon after the Union government initiated plans to privatise the unit.

Confirming the move, Industries Minister P.Rajeeve said a reconstituted director board of the HNL was slated to meet for the first time in July. “Besides re-opening the company, the Kinfra has been directed to prepare a detailed plan for utilisation of its land, which also include the proposal to establish a CIAL-model rubber company,” he said.

Earlier, the National Company Law Tribunal had approved a ₹146-crore takeover plan submitted by the Kinfra on behalf of the State government. Based on the tribunal’s order, the State government had already disbursed 35% of salary dues of its employees.

The HNL, in its prime, had up to 1,200 employees on its rolls and it at present employs over 330 regular and 300 contract workers. But for a percent of the salary dues disbursed as part of the takeover process, the employees have not received their monthly salaries from December 2017.

On being taken over, the State government is expected to rename the unit before commencing commercial operations. The industrial unit, meanwhile, will be bifurcated with the Kinfra taking over 300 acres for launching a slew of projects, including Kerala Rubber Limited (KRL).

According to officials, the KRL has already shortlisted three products under its value-added initiatives — off-road tyres, heat-resistant latex thread, and medical gloves.

Responding to submissions in the Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Rajeeve said the KRL would be developed in three phases in 100 acres at an estimate of ₹1050 crore.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 4:55:45 PM |

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