GUWAHATI: In an unprecedented incident at the Assam Assembly complex, a Congress MLA on Tuesday slit his left palm with a blade protesting against the government’s bid to sell two paper mills and a fertilizer unit and its alleged failure to revive two tea estates which have remained closed for past few months.
Mariani MLA, Rupjyoti Kurmi, committed the daring act within the Assembly complex during the ongoing winter session of the House. He used the blood that oozed out to write anti-government slogans on a piece of paper that he carried along.
His act went unnoticed for about ten minutes until a journalist informed the Assembly authority which rushed a doctor who provided treatment to the MLA. He received multiple stitches. Questions were raised as to how the MLA had managed to enter the high-security area with a blade.
Later, Kurmi told journalists that he was aggrieved that the government was planning to sell the two public sector undertakings, Nagaon Paper Mill (NPM) and Cachar Paper Mill (CPM).
“The government spent crores of rupees in organizing Namami Brahmaputra and Pushkar Mela. It will spend a huge amount of money next year by organizing the Filmfare Awards ceremony in Guwahati. The government is also spending crores of rupees by erecting the statues of dead people. So, why can’t it revive the two paper mills?” Kurmi asked.
“Several employees of the two paper mills have committed suicide. Should we not do something for those who are alive?” he said.
The Congress said it did not mandate Kurmi to do what he did.
“We had no idea that he will commit this act. The matter was never discussed within the party,” a Congress leader said.
The NPM and the CPM are PSUs under the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises with 100 per cent Central shareholding. The NPM and the CPM – each with installed capacity of 1 lakh metric tonnes per annum – started commercial production from October 1985 and April 1988 respectively.
Operations at the CPM have remained suspended since September 2015. The NPM has kept the operations suspended since March 2016. The number of their regular employees is around 1500 but starting from bamboo cutting to production, the livelihood of two lakh people is linked to the two units. They have combined liabilities of Rs.1400 crore and they are demanding a revival package of Rs.900 crore.