Gopal Chandra Bhar (57) suffered from hepatic and other ailments but could not afford necessary medical treatment because of a financial crisis

Silchar: Yet another employee of Cachar Paper Mill passed away on Monday, taking the toll of employees who have died since the state’s two paper mills stopped functioning to 106. 

The two mills – Cachar Paper Mill at Panchgram in Hailakandi district and Nagaon Paper Mill at Jagiroad in Morigaon district – have been non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017, respectively. Their employees have not received their salaries for the past 64 and 62 months, respectively. According to the mills’ unions, at least 104 employees have died (including the death on Sunday) after the industrial units became non-functional, mostly because of poverty, trauma and lack of medical treatment.

The deceased person, Gopal Chandra Bhar (57), hailed from Radharani Colony, Panchgram in Hailakandi district and worked as a technician (utility) at the Cachar Paper Mill. He suffered from hepatic and other ailments but could not afford necessary medical treatment because of a financial crisis. On Monday morning, he was rushed to a hospital in Kalinagar (Hailakandi district) after he fell unconscious. He was declared brought dead at the hospital. His last rites were performed on Monday night. He is survived by his wife and three sons. The post-mortem report of the death is yet to be made available, sources said.

Sharing his reaction, the president of the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions (JACRU) of the two mills Manabendra Chakraborty told EastMojo on Wednesday that it is shocking and unfortunate that employees of the two paper mills are passing away helplessly one after another. But the government is not showing any concern.

“How many more deaths will wake up the government from its slumber?” he questioned, venting his ire on the “apathy” of the government in clearing the dues of the mills’ employees.

He demanded that the financial relief package, which is to be released for disbursement of dues of the mills’ employees as per an agreement signed between the Assam government and the mills’ unions in Guwahati in September last year, be released at the earliest. He sought the intervention of Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in this regard.

The general secretary of Cachar Paper Mill Officers and Supervisors’ Association, Dipak Chandra Nath, said the mills’ employees had been suffering immensely because of the financial crunch and appealed to the government to release the financial relief package soon.

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