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Auctioning of two Assam paper mills cancelled

File photo of HPCL’s Nagaon paper mill.   | Photo Credit: RITU RAJ KONWAR

The e-auctioning of two closed paper mills of the Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) in Assam has been cancelled as no private entity deposited the requisite earnest money of ₹55 crore within June 15.

The associations of officers and employees of the Cachar and Nagaon paper mills had challenged the National Company Law Tribunal’s nod to HPCL for auctioning the paper mills on June 30. The case came up for hearing on June 16.

The counsel for liquidator Kuldeep Varma told the court of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak that “no one responded to the e-auction sale notice” on June 1 to deposit the ₹55 crore as earnest money within the deadline. The reserve price for the two mills was ₹1,139 crore and the auction was to have been conducted on the site of the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation.

The court observed that the e-auction was thus not going to take place and dismissed the interim applications challenging the sale of the paper mills.

“Now that the e-auctioning is not happening, the government should live up to its promise and revive its wholly-owned mills to end the trauma and torture of the employees who have not been paid their dues for 54 months,” Manobendra Chakraborty, president of the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions told The Hindu on June 18.

“We have already lost 89 workers who died because of hunger and inability to get treatment for their illnesses, which violates the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) has governments at the Centre and in Assam, and both have repeatedly assured the mills will be revived,” he said.

The Cachar and Nagaon paper mills have been closed since October 2015 and March 2017.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 10:03:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/auctioning-of-two-assam-paper-mills-cancelled/article34849982.ece

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