Revival Package, Regular Financial Package to Government Paper Mills

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Read Editorial, Subject: Revival Package, News Magazine: The Pulp and Paper Times, Issue: July-August, Year: 2017.

Revival Package V/s Paper Industry’

Centre Government is not taking up measurable steps in declining the imports of paper. More than 125 craft paper mills in Gujarat and Maharashtra, with a combined annual turnover of Rs 12,000 crore, are on the verge of closure due to a sharp increase in the cost of raw materials (waste paper) and their inability to pass on the hike to consumers due to cheap imports from ASEAN countries under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Instead of imposing anti dumping duty, Government is polishing its image in north east states by releasing or approving revival packages to Public sector paper mills. Estimation shows that Rs. 1500 Crore revival package for Hindustan Paper Corporation out of which Rs.900 crore for its two units has been sent for consideration and Rs. 975 Crore has been approved for NEPA back in 2011. The Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM) and the Cachar Paper Mill (CPM) are public sector undertakings.

Operations at the CPM have remained suspended since September 2015 while the NPM suspended operations since March 2017. Employees have not received salaries since the end of 2016. The number of regular employees number around 1,500 but starting from bamboo cutting to production, the livelihood of two lakh people is linked to the two units. According to some Government sources told to The Assam Tribune that an internal probe was conducted by the Ministry of Heavy Industries to find out the reasons for the closure of the mills and some prima facie evidence of irregularities and mismanagement were found to be the main reasons for the present state of affairs. Some senior officers of paper mill, working on their personal interests rather than trying to make the mills economically viable and there were prima facie evidence of irregularities. India has imported Rs. 13,937 Crore paper in 2016-17 and government is proposed to sanction Rs. 2500 Crore to paper mills, close to 20% of what India Paper Imports. Paper Mills are on closure due to the raw materials prices hike by 35 per cent, ASEAN countries are dumping their cheaper paper into Indian market and Government is making proposal for revival of paper mills on account of mismanagement and irregularities of their employees. Private paper mills are establishing 100 to 150 TPD paper plant in 30 to 40 Crore then why Govt's paper mills suck crore of rupees. Disinvestment of Public Paper mill is the only remedy to survive. Under the management of government official, they are managing the fund in their interest requiring probe to stop this kind of malpractice.

Thanks - Editor

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