Shimla: Joining the onslaught on the BJP government for the sale of machinery at the Gumma carton factory, former ADGP BS Thind in a press statement termed it as a sell out and said the state exchequer has suffered a loss of 20 crore. Thind had served as Managing Directory of AIPIL for the period 1993 – 1998.
Thind refuted the statement of the present AIPIL MD’s statement that the plant machinery had become old and useless. He said during his visit in such plants abroad he had found that the life span of such plants was more than 50 years even after the plant was run to full capacity. On the other hand he said the plant at Gumma had functioned just 5 to 10 percent of it’s capacity.
He alleged that the new machinery of the plant which was sold at scrap value could have been repaired by spending just Rs. 2 crore.
He pointed out that it was wrong on part of the government to asses the present value of the plant by subtracting the depreciation value. Just like land prices, the value of the plant had gone up with time as there were very few movable parts open to wear and tear.
He said that during his tenure a license for setting up a paper mill manufacturing craft and semi-craft paper was obtained. This plant was to be located either at Poanta Sahib or at Una. Once the plant was running to its full capacity, the paper would have been purchased from this mill. This would have generated employment to about 3000 families of the surrounding area and also engaged a thousand trucks round the clock 12 months in a year. In 1998 AIPIL had orders worth Rs. 90 crores in the pipeline but due to reasons best known to the government, the appointment of marketing agents was cancelled.
Thind further said that presently the demand of corrugated cardboard cartons in the state alone has gone upto about 2 crores cartons per annum. The claim of the government that the plant was not viable is proved false by this demand. Due to the state of art technology, the carton manufactured by these machines was far superior to the cartons that are being manufactured by the private corrugators in Himachal Pradesh as well as outside the state. Moreover, the private corrugators have been overcharging for their inferior quality of cartons because the state owned plant had stopped production of cartons.