The case of the shut paper-mill in Sirpur which has many dreams hinging on it
news Thursday, April 09, 2015 - 05:30
A large group of people gathered at the Indira park in Hyderabad on April 8, demanding the reopening of a closed Sirpur Paper Mill in Kaghaznagar. One of the oldest paper mills in the country, the Sirpur Paper Mill (SPM) which was established in 1936, turned into a loss-making unit over the last few years which resulted in its closure. This however, has had repercussions.  Adilabad, where SPM is based, has already lost a lot of employment with the closure of the Sirsilk textile mill, the Cement Corporation of India (CCI) unit at Adilabad town and a number of small and medium factories. The future of about 3,000 to 4,000 families are at stake, with no sign of the mill resuming production after it was halted in September 2014. A series of protests have followed with many trade and labour unions joining the cause but to no avail. A petition  has also been started and a Facebook group also been started to save the mill from completely shutting down. Punit Gohil, who started the petition, and has been actively promoting the cause on social media shares the history of the mill. "I work in Malaysia now but I was born and brought up in Sirpur, Kaghaznagar and started my career with the mill. The area was actually called Kothapet and was renamed 'Kaghaznagar' only after the mill," he tells The News Minute. The petition has 808 signatures at the time of writing and is addressed to the Prime Minister and the governments of India and Telangana. "I started the petition to raise awareness and help my ex-colleagues and family. I know the condition of the workers there. We have also filed a few RTI's but have not got a lot of response," Punit adds.    The SPM was established by the Nizam of Hyderabad and started production of paper in 1942. In the 1950s, it was purchased by the C.K. Birla group and later transferred to the Poddars. Though the authorities of the mill could not be contacted,  Vice president of SPM B.C Sharma had told The Hindu that the sharp hike in the price of raw materials from and the shortage of power resulted in the halting of production. The paper mill was one of the biggest sources of employment for the people in the area and shutting it down has driven them bankrupt with women complaining that they have no money to even send their children to school.   Reports suggest that Telangana home minister Naini Narasimha Reddy was a union leader in the mill but despite his powers, even he has reportedly not visited the place since the agitation demanding resumption of production began. With more protests in store, the workers hope that the mill will be reopened or an agreement chalked out that could be beneficial to all parties. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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