‘CAG reply has vindicated HKS stand on sale of carton factory'



Shimla (March 6): The Himachal Pradesh state committee of Himachal Kisan Sabha (HKS), an affiliate of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), has stated that the reply filed by the Comptroller and Auditory General (CAG) in the court in the case pertaining to illegal closure and sale of Agro India Packaging Industrial Limited (AIPIL) unit at Gumma has vindicated the position taken by HKS.

HKS had opposed selling of Gumma carton factory, allegedly at a throwaway price to a scrap dealer, who, as per claims made by the farmer body, is re-assembling the machine parts to further manufacture cartons in Pune. HKS had filed a writ petition in this regard in the state high court. The CAG in its report to the court has stated that it is prepared to conduct an audit of the Gumma carton factory during the year 2011-12. “The irregularities pointed out by the petitioner shall be taken into consideration at the time of conducting the audit,” the CAG has been quoted stating.

HKS vice-president Tikender Singh Panwar said they had asked the government the rationale of selling the AiPIL unit that was worth more than Rs 28 crore, at a paltry sum of just Rs 1.08 crore. “The governments has failed to justify the necessity of selling this plant to the scrap dealer at 1/20th of its price whereas the life of the plant is about 50 years if not more that too if run to its full capacity as per the practice of similar plants in other countries. The entire gamut of arguments advocated by the government stands demolished that the plant has depreciated to such a low price as the plant has never run to its optimum capacity. It has worked only to 3% of its optimum amplitude in the last so many years. And this has not been justified by the government.” he claimed.

HKS has also termed the technical committee formed by the government as mere eyewash. “Whereas successive governments used just 3% to its capacity, the Commonwealth secretariat had opined that this plant could easily run for 5 decades. Hence the whole façade of depreciation of the plant was to just get rid of the machinery in Gumma and pass on the buck of manufacturing of cartons onto the private players,” he added.

HKS has demanded that the land that was acquired from peasants should be returned back to them as the only purpose for parting away with their land was to have a carton factory. It has threatened to launch an agitation in case the government fails to meet their demands.

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