The employees of the Hindustan Paper Corporation who work at the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills appealed to the National Human Rights Commission to take steps against the Modi led government. They have alleged that the government has not deposited their Provident Fund, Life Insurance Corporation policy amount, salaries and other dues.
Chief convener of HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee Manobendra Chakraborty, convener Azizur Rahman Mazumder and Kagaj Nigam Karmi Union General Secretary Anand Bordoloi, who were part of a delegation met officials of the NHRC in New Delhi to deliberate on the issue.
According to a report in NewsCentral24x7, National commission has directed the Chief Labour Commissioner to submit a formal reply by February 12. Manobendra said, “If the labour commissioner fails to file a satisfactory response, he will have to appear before the commission. Government of India has committed a criminal offence.”
“The Government of India (GoI) has committed a criminal offence by deducting our PF, LIC and other dues. Our PF was deducted and not deposited with effect from February 2015 and LIC policies was also deducted from August 2016. These are our hard-earned money,” Chakraborty said.
He pointed out that the government has not yet realised their salaries for the past 25 months and 23 months in the case of Nagaon Paper Mill, even after repeated reminders.
The both mills are located in Assam. The paper mill at Panchgram was shut down on October 20, 2015, while production at the Nagaon Paper Mill stopped on March 13, 2017. Two workers have committed suicide, who were unable to avail medical facilities. 49 others died a premature death.
If the NHRC fails to resolve the issue, the workers have decided to approach the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). “We didn’t reach out to the UN yet because it will hamper India’s image. But if it is not resolved, we won’t be left with any other option,” Chakraborty said.
The situation did not change even after a detailed inquiry by the government
Even after conducting the inquiry, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) informed the NHRC on September 12, 2017 that HPC was not depositing the provident fund amount in the Employees’ Central Provident Fund Trust despite deducting it from their salaries since February 2015.
“As per the report of the Enforcement Officer, the establishment has been found (sic) default for non-payment of employees and employer contribution to the BOT and non-payment of dues in the statutory fund also,” NewsCentral24x7 has quoted from the Regional PF Commissioner VK Prasad’s letter written to the NHRC.