Employees and workers of Nagaon Paper Mill rejoice with minister Chandra Mohan Patowary (centre) after the deal on March 28.

After long and sustained efforts, dialogues and meetings, the Assam government has finally taken over the assets of Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) Nagaon at Jagiroad under Morigaon district and Cachar Paper Mill, Panchgram under Hailakandi district on March 28, said a government press statement.

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State government-run Assam Industrial Development Corporation Limited (AIDC) was declared as the successful bidder and accordingly on behalf of the government, the AIDC has taken over the assets of Nagaon and Cachar paper mills.

AIDC MD Adil Khan and Moloy Ranjan Thakur authorized person of official liquidator Kuldeep Verma signed an understanding in presence of state minister of industries, commerce and public enterprises department Chandra Mohan Patowary and principal secretary KK Dwivedi at Nagaon Paper Mill, Jagiroad on March 28.

In the meantime, a team of AIDC officials has also taken over the assets of Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram on the same day.

Although the Assam government had no stake in the paper mills, the state government has been relentlessly pursuing to resolve the matter on humanitarian grounds.

After the initiative of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the state government offered a general relief package of Rs. 700 crores. The package included the settlement of various outstanding dues of employees and workers of HPCL’s assets at Nagaon and Cachar paper mills.

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An agreement was signed between the representatives of officers and supervisors’ associations and workers unions of the HPC Limited (in liquidation) and the Assam government. The relief package of Rs. 700 crores were accorded approval in the cabinet meeting held on September 30, 2021.

The nodal agency for this matter – AIDC – had participated in the e-auction process of all the assets, plant, technical area, township area of Nagaon and Cachar paper mills pursuant to public announcement on February 26, 2022 at a reserve price of Rs. 375 crores.

Assam government has paid the amount of Rs 375 crores and will be distributed by the liquidator as per the norms of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) 2016. The remaining amount of Rs 700 crores will be utilized in clearing the dues of employees and workers of HPC.

The Assam government also plans to develop the land to promote industrial and economic activities to accelerate the growth of the region.

Chandra Mohan Patowary thanked chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his generosity, kindness and expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders that after a long-pending and perplexing issue has been finally resolved.

“The amount will immensely help and benefit all the employees, workers of Nagaon and Cachar paper mills and their families,” said Patowary.

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The land area of the paper mill at Nagaon Paper Mill is 1765 bigha, 33 katha and 24 lessa. Land area of Cachar Paper Mill is 2916 bigha, 1 katha and 7 lessa.  Total land area of both the paper mills are 4681 bigha, 34 katha and 17 lessa.

The Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill have been non-operational since October 2017 and March 2015 respectively.

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