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NPPCL JAC announces protest from Aug 12 on NH 61

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, JUNE 12: The Joint Action Committee (Workers Union and Pensioners Union) Nagaland Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd. (NPPCL), has announced a protest from August 12 on NH 61 at Tzudikong in Mokokchung district till the workers are paid their salaries/wages with effect from August 2017 till date and also till the retired employees and the families of the deceased are paid their terminal/pension benefits.
In a representation submitted to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on June 10, the Committee (JAC) informed that movement of vehicles along NH-61 at the place of protest will also be blocked.
“After much deliberation, we have decided to take this step in terms of practices of a democratic country to make our grievances heard by the concerned authorities as well as the public”, it stated.
The JAC reminded Rio that NPPCL was the only heavy industry established in Nagaland with workers not only from the district of Mokokchung or the State of Nagaland but many from Assam and the rest of the country.
“The NPPCL was established sometime in the early part of 1970s with the main objective of uplifting the socio-economic welfare of the State of Nagaland. The people of the area also made huge sacrifices, more particularly in terms of giving away lands at nominal/negligible compensations for the sake of development. Commercial production started sometime in the year
1982 and the NPPC was producing papers of the best quality.
However, for no fault of the workers but for reasons relating to management, production of the paper mill ceased from the later part of 1992. Thereafter, the matter was referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (hereinafter referred to as BIFR). Though there were plans and measures for revival of the NPPCL but nothing happened at the ground level. It is also learnt that funds released for the revival of the Mill were diverted. Subsequently, the Holding Company i.e., HPC went under the liquidation process”, the letter read.
As such, the Committee stated that they have lost all hopes of revival of the NPPCL. “However, the dues owed by the NPPCL to the workers should be given. The workers of NPPCL have not got their salaries from the month of August 2017. Furthermore, the superannuated employees and also employees who died in harness have not received their terminal/retiral/pensionary dues from the month of September, 2015.
“Such denial, apart from being absolutely discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal and against all cannon of public service jurisprudence, is also in gross violation of basic human rights. Mention may also be made that though other Government employees are presently receiving pay scale as per the recommendation of 7th Pay Commission, the employees of NPPCL till the month of July 2017 i.e., till the date they received their salary, were given the pay scale as per recommendation of the 5th Pay Commission”, it stated.
According to the Committee, the liabilities of NPPCL for payment of wages and dues to superannuated and deceased employees as assessed up to December 2021 was Rs 27,33,89,777.
“This assessment has been done in consultation with the Directorate of Industry and Commerce, Government of Nagaland. It is also learnt that an amount of Rs 5.5 crore is reserved by the Government of Nagaland against the account of NPPCL equity share under civil deposit. Furthermore, an amount of Rs 4,47,91,745 was lying in NPPC account at Axis Bank, Kolkata, as per the account update up to June 10, 2018”, it stated.
The JAC reminded the Chief Minister that even after requests by the workers for availing the voluntary retirement schemes, the authorities concerned have not extended the benefits to the workers of NPPCL.
The Workers Union of NPPCL as well as the JAC has made numerous representations to all the authorities having the power to address their genuine grievances, it stated adding that however, the grievances of the workers were yet to be addressed.
It pointed out that a similar situation was faced by the Mill workers under HPC in Assam. “However, the Government of Assam headed by their Chief Minister, Mr. Himanta Biswa Sharma took the initiative and in a meeting held on September 28, 2021, decided to take measures to ease the suffering of the workers and their family members and also give them their entitled dues/rights”, it stated.
In the light of all these, the Committee announced that it was left with no choice but to hold the protest.
(Page News Service)