The defunct Cachar paper mill in Assam owned by the Hindustan Paper Corporation (HPC), for which bidders have been invited to conduct an e-auction, sits on a huge crude oil reserve, the employees union of the mill stated in a letter to HPC’s liquidator Kuldeep Verma on July 3.
On account of that, the Cachar Paper Project Workers’ Union in the letter demanded the disclosure of the total volume of oil reserve beneath the mill and also the value of the land having natural oil reserve before it is auctioned off. A copy of the letter was also forwarded to the Secretary of the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in Delhi.
“As land having Oil reserve is precious and inclined with national interest being the national property, we request you to disclose the details prior to selling the Land to any third party,” the letter stated.
The union mentioned about irregularities in the auction process as the reserve price of the auction was reduced by Rs. 170 crore from Rs 1139 crore without any mention of the land being enriched with natural oil reserve and a lease agreement of the land with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC).
“More than three oilwell points exist in the Cachar Paper Mill township area and there is a land lease agreement with the ONGC. But the valuation of the oil reserve has not been disclosed anywhere in the auction notification where only the land area has been detailed,” union’s president Manobendra Chakraborty said.
The union also asked to know the criterion adopted for fixing the price of the land having oil reserve and the period of the lease rent agreement with ONGC.