At least four employees of three closed PSUs in Assam committed suicide and 58 others died without salaries, a forum representing the workers said in their petition to Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC).
Save Industry Save Workers Joint Struggle Committee told the AHRC that three employees of Jagiroad Paper Mill in Morigaon district and and Cachar Paper Mill in South Assam committed suicide while 53 died without treatment since they were closed in 2017. Five workers of Assam Co-operative Polyster Limited at Rangiya in Kamrup district died due to lack of money while another one committed suicide. Employees of the garments factory has not received their salary since it was closed in December 2016, they said.
"The petition said that production of the two paper mills was stopped in 2017 although both were running with profit earlier. The employees of both the mills are deprived of their salaries and other benefits since March, 2017," said a statement issued by AHRC on Tuesday.
Acting on the petition, a single bench of the commission member N K Bora directed the state industry department to reply to the complaints raised by the committee. The AHRC asked the commissioner and secretary of the department to submit his replies within four weeks.
Workers of the sick PSUs have been agitating for revival of the units but BJP-led government in Assam said they were looking for private partners as revival of the three units was not viable for the government. Opposition parties alleged that the government was flagging NRC and the foreigners issue more to divert attention from its failure on developmental issues including revival of the sick industries.