India: Rights Commission orders govt. to report on pending salaries of workers of now defunct paper mills

Author: Swapnaneel Bhattacharjee, The Telegraph, Published on: 31 December 2019

"NHRC seeks Delhi report on mills", 1 January 2020

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered the Union ministry of heavy industries to submit its report on the two defunct paper mills in Assam on or before January 16, connection with a petition filed by the Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union.

The mills, Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district, have been lying non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017 respectively and their workers have not got salaries for the past 35 and 33 months respectively.

Manabendra Chakraborty, president of the workers’ union, told The Telegraph...that he had filed a petition in 2016 about issues related to provident fund and pension and sought the NHRC’s intervention. The commission eventually took up the matter with the Union ministry of heavy industries but the latter never submitted a report or appeared in person before it... 

...“Sixty workers have died, including three suicides, since the mills stopped functioning. The government is totally responsible for the tragic incidents...

...Gauhati High Court would hold a hearing on January 9 regarding a petition filed by the unions seeking clearance of Rs 90 crore (sanctioned in Parliament in 2018 but not disbursed) for payment of pending salaries. 

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