Sirpur Paper Mills on cusp of revival; BILT’s fate unknown

Sirpur Paper Mills on cusp of revival; BILT’s fate unknown
Highlights

The two paper mills, Sirpur Paper Mills (SPM) and Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT), that became inoperative in 2014, have different facets of fortune. While the SPM is on the cusp of revival, the fate of BILT remains a mystery that is yet to be unravelled.

Sirpur/Kamalapuram: The two paper mills, Sirpur Paper Mills (SPM) and Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT), that became inoperative in 2014, have different facets of fortune. While the SPM is on the cusp of revival, the fate of BILT remains a mystery that is yet to be unravelled.

The SPM was one of the oldest paper mills in the country, while the BILT was the only major industry in the erstwhile Warangal district, which sunk into oblivion after their managements struggled to pay salaries and repay debts. The shutting down of the mills affected the livelihood of no less 20,000 people, directly and indirectly dependent on these mills.

Both the pulp and paperboard manufacturing units had their heydays before they plunged into financial crisis due to high raw material costs, coupled with poor demand.

After umpteen demands by the distressed employees, the State government had announced a package to revive the BILT. The government issued GO MS 91 on December 14, 2015 extending subsidy of Rs 21 crore towards supply of pulpwood (Eucalyptus and Bamboo) per annum and Rs 9 crore on power supply per annum to bail out the 36-year-old industry. Since then, the BILT management did not come forward to restart the unit.

Speaking to The Hans India, Rajya Sabha member Garikapati Mohan Rao, who had been pursuing the BILT revival issue with the State government said, “We are trying our best to operationalise the factory. The BILT management is likely to come clear on restarting the unit in a few days.”

However, on the other hand, the revival of the SPM has taken shape ever since the JK Paper Limited came forward to invest Rs 628 crore. On its part for the revival of the unit, the government announced a few sops that include reimbursement of SGST (State GST) to the buyer for 19-year and also 100 per cent exemption from stamp duty for the revival of the unit.

This apart, the other benefits usually extended to sick industries are also included. The company will also get capital subsidy up to 20 per cent of investment subject to a maximum Rs 50 crore and supply of debarked eucalyptus or subabul at a concessional price.

Sirpur (T) MLA Koneru Konappa said, “The decks have been cleared for the revival of the mill with the consortium of banks coming to an understanding. It takes a month for the change of ownership. Hopefully, the unit will be operationalised in about three months.”

“More or less all the hiccups have been cleared. The siren of the factory is expected to come to life again after four-year. It is a sigh of relief for around 3,500 employees, including administrative staff, regular employees and casual labourers who were without salaries for the last 43 months,” K Rajanna, an employee of SPM and the CITU-affiliated Mazdoor Union General Secretary said.

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