Jeypore: Livelihood of nearly 10,000 families is at stake as the 36-year-old Ballarpur Industries Limited (Bilt), a Thapar group-run paper mill at Gaganapur here in Koraput district, is on the threshold of closure, a report said.
This was revealed Monday after senior members of two employees’ association met CMD DP Dhimana at his residential office here.
The plant’s production was stopped after the mill started incurring losses. If the situation continues like this, there would be no option for the management but to shut down the plant, the CMD indicated.
According to reports, an HRD team of the plant’s Delhi office would visit the unit soon to review the situation. They would speak to four employee associations, a contractual workers’ association and transport unions before reaching any conclusion.
More than 10,000 families depend on the plant for their living directly or indirectly and its closure would worsen unemployment in the area.
Similarly, truck owners and local traders would become jobless after the closure of the plant. Traders in Jeypore town used to do business worth `3 crore a month because of the paper mill. The shutting down of the plant would lead to an economic slowdown in the entire district, it was learnt.
The plant had engaged 550 permanent employees and 1,000 contractual workers. While the contract workers lost their jobs after the production was stopped in April last year, permanent staff have not got their salaries since August. Recently, the employees gheraoed the CMD and sought justice from the local administration.
It may be noted that the plant had started its production from February 21, 1981 in the name of Sewa paper mill. But it was closed March 14, 1987 after running for six years.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik, in a bid to revive the plant, roped in Thapar group which bought the plant in July 1991 and ran as Bilt Sewa Paper Mill.
However, after running successfully for nearly 25 years, it got closed. The production can be revived if the authorities take drastic measures to curb the losses otherwise it will be shut down permanently, Dhimana said. PNN