State

Fund crisis may shutdown Tuli paper mill

Fund crisis may shutdown Tuli paper mill
A file photo of the dilapidated Nagaland Pulp & Paper Company Ltd at Tuli. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, JUL 16 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/17/2018 12:18:36 AM IST
With even the faintest glimmer of hope of revival having evaporated, the formal closure of Nagaland’s only major industry – Nagaland Pulp & Paper Company Ltd (NPPCL) at Tuli in Mokokchung district – is now not only imminent but just a matter of time, sources said.
Set up in 1971, the joint venture of Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd (HPCL) and Government of Nagaland had stopped operating since August 2015. 
Now, with the board of directors of HPC having been recently dissolved and taken over by National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), there is likelihood of the corporation being sold to a recognised bidder in order to clear the corporation’s accumulated dues, including those of NPPCL, unless Government of India intervenes on the matter, sources added. HPC has already been referred for closure to NCLT.
And with the State government too not raising its voice on the issue so far despite its representatives being on the board of directors of NPPCL, the fate of Nagaland’s largest industry is now virtually sealed. It’s no secret that HPC was very poorly managed over the years, including the Tuli-based paper mill. It’s two other papers mills in Assam – Nagaon Paper Mill in Jagiroad and Cachar Paper Mill in Panchgram – too had shut operations largely due to poor management and their employees not paid their salary for months on end. NPPCL owes lot of money to various vendors, besides its own employees who have not been paid their salary since June 2017.
The Government of India had allocated Rs 100 crore to HPC, of which only Rs 33 crore was diverted to NPPCL. The amount proved too meagre to clear the pending dues to the vendors and arrear salary of the paper mill’s employees. 
The State government had reportedly given a loan of Rs 1.2 crore, out of which three months’ salary was paid, while another one month’s salary was paid out of equity amount. Subsequently the mill sold scrap and paid another three months’ salary. However, the employees have not been paid since June 2017. 
It’s a tragedy that NPPCL, the State’s largest industry thus far in terms of both investment and employment, has been allowed to die in such a non-dignified manner. And sadly neither the Centre nor the State government has chipped in so far to try and avoid the inevitable. No one has been held accountable for turning the paper mill into a giant piece of scrap.
In 2015, Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise Anand G. Geete assured that Centre had activated action plan to revive the defunct NPPCL.  Briefing media persons, Geete informed that the entire revival works was to be carried out in two phases. He said that the works under phase one would be completed by November 2016 for which the government had allocated Rs. 489 crore and another Rs. 190 crore to take up works in the phase two. 
Stating that the plant had to run on the basis of 95% (Centre) and 5% (state) share, Geete said Nagaland government in this regard has to contribute Rs. 23 crore, as State share.

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