Pawar urges CM to revive sick industrial units of Vidarbha to contain Naxalites

Sharad Pawar and CM Fadnavis
Nagpur: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Monday urged chief minister Devendra Fadanvis to take immediate steps to revive distressed industries of Vidarbha region. Thriving hubs of commerce once, many of them are in the red now.

“I was on a tour of Vidarbha. Many industrial units are closed for a long period. Around 20,000 people have been rendered jobless. In view of Naxal menace, it is essential to concentrate on Vidarbha’s development. Efforts should be made for the revival of such units,’’ Pawar said in a letter to Fadnavis.

A paper mill in Chandrapur is facing a crisis since the state government has stopped supplying bamboo. “Since 2014, bamboo supply to the unit has stopped, hence it has to procure costly raw material from Assam and MP. For six months the unit was closed, subsequently production resumed but the workers have not been paid,’’ he said.

Paper mill closed since 3 years due to Govt. apathy

After the forest department denied the supply of bamboo from Gadchiroli forests, Ballarpur mill was forced to obtain raw material from distant states which had escalated its cost to Rs11,000 per ton. High cost of raw material and stiff competition from overseas paper industries had pushed the mill that provides employment to around 10,000 people at the verge of closure, Ballarpur Paper Mill Mazdoor Sabha President and former M.P. Puglia had warned in March 2015.

“Overseas paper industries exporting paper to India enjoys 0% import duty. The imported being cheaper than one produced locally, it has destroyed paper industry in the country. ” Pugulia had warned.

Around 700 small and big paper industries across the country have been closed in recent years. Famous paper mills in Telangana like Kagaznagar mill and APR too have been forced to shutdown following downfall. Hike in import duty on paper and government’s help in procuring cheaper raw material can only save the surviving paper mills,” Puglia had warned.

The union had forwarded a memorandum to the government through district collector, demanding supply of raw material from forest department or at least providing degraded forest patches to paper mill on lease to take up plantation of soft wood. Puglia had sought intervention of state’s finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who is MLA from Ballarpur and union minister of state Hansraj Ahir, MP from Chandrapur, to resolve the problem. But to no avail it seems.

Now the request is coming from senior politician of the state.

Will the government act at least now?