Exclusive: Hindustan Paper Corporation: Salaries Unpaid For 2 Years, Employees Approach NHRC Against Modi Govt
"The Government of Indian (GoI) has committed a criminal offence by deducting our PF, LIC and other dues."
Employees of the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills of the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC) on Wednesday, February 6 approached the National Humans Rights Commission (NHRC) and pleaded it to take immediate steps against the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for not depositing their Provident Fund, Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) policy amount, salaries and other statutory dues .
A delegation comprising of chief convener of HPC Paper Mills Revival Action Committee Manobendra Chakraborty, convener Azizur Rahman Mazumder and Kagaj Nigam Karmi Union General Secretary Anand Bordoloi met officials of the NHRC in New Delhi to discuss the issue. The commission has directed the Chief Labour Commissioner to send a written reply by February 12. In case the commissioner fails to submit a satisfactory response, he has to appear before the NHRC on February 26, Chakraborty informed NewsCenral24x7.
“GoI has committed a criminal offence”
“The Government of Indian (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 even underlined that the government has not yet realised their salaries for the past 25 months (23 months in the case of Nagaon Paper Mill) even after repeated reminders.
Both the mills are located in Assam. While the paper mill at Panchgram was shut down on October 20, 2015, production at the Nagaon Paper Mill stopped on March 13, 2017. Two workers have committed suicide and unable to avail medical facilities, 49 others died a premature death.
In case the NHRC fails to resolve the issue, the employees 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.
No relief even after a detailed inquiry by the government
The Ministry of Labour and Employment’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), Kolkata, based on the complaint filed by Chakraborty in the NHRC (Law Division) in March 2016, had conducted a detailed inquiry into the non-deposition of PF contribution that was deducted from the HPC employees’ salaries.
After conducting the inquiry, the 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,” Regional PF Commissioner VK Prasad said in his letter to the NHRC. Based on the report, the EPF Organisation also lodged an FIR against the managing director of HPC.