Nagaland’s lone heavy industry on the brink of closure
Kohima, Sep. 19 (PTI): Nagaland’s only heavy industry — Tuli Paper Mill — is staring at closure as all efforts to revive it bore no fruit, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has said.
According to Rio, the Centre has already decided to approach the Cabinet for closure of the mill, which has been defunct since 1992.
Tuli Paper Mill is a subsidiary of state-run Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) and has 99 employees on its payroll.
Tabling a set of documents in the state’s assembly on Tuesday, Rio said that the state government had repeatedly written to the Centre concerning the mill’s revival. At least four letters were written by former Chief Minister TR Zeliang during 2015 and 2016, he said.
The latest letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi was written by Rio on April 6 this year.
“Unfortunately, the Nagaland Pulp and Paper Company Ltd (NPPCL) Tuli, has been non operational since 1992. However, after various efforts, a revival package was approved in 2003 amounting to Rs 489 crore. This package could not, however, materialize till date despite constant pressure from the Nagaland government,” Rio stated in his letter.
He said that of the Rs 489 crore package, the Centre had initially released Rs 100 crore but the HPC management had diverted Rs 60 crore to other subsidiaries while the remaining Rs 40 crore was used to pay off salary arrears of the mill’s employees.
‘Now the state government has learnt that the ministry of Heavy Industries has decided to approach the Cabinet for closure of the mill. It would be unfair to leave out NPPCL Tuli, the only heavy industry in Nagaland,’ Rio said.
Earlier, replying to a question raised by opposition MLA Imtiwapang Aier, Rio informed the House that there was no progress on the revival of Tuli Paper Mill.
Rio, who is also in charge of the Industries & Commerce department, said that the department of Heavy Industries’ secretary convened a meeting on March 21 to decide the future course of action on the NPPCL.
It was decided in the meeting that a Cabinet committee of economic affairs note for closure of NPPCL be prepared expeditiously by the department of Heavy Industries.
On May 14, NITI Aayog also convened a meeting with the HPC, the department of Heavy Industries, and the chief secretary of Nagaland on the mill’s issue.
When contacted, NPPCL CEO Mohan Jha said that the mill was headed for closure.
“The mill will be closed down. We hope a good voluntary retirement package is offered to the employees,” Jha told PTI.
Rio said that the first phase of revival process started with the production of bamboo chips, with the release of Rs 100 crore on September 19, 2013 to HPC by the Centre. The state had also provided its equity share amounting to Rs 23 crore in two installments of Rs 12 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 11 crore in 2015-16.
Out of the Rs 100 crore sanctioned for the NPPCL, Rs 60 crore was diverted by the HPC and the Nagaland government had to infuse Rs 1.2 crore for payment of salaries to prevent serious law and order situation, Rio said.
He said that the payment of salary and wages of 99 employees is pending since July 2017.