The joy and excitement among workers at Sewa Paper Mill in Jeypore, in Koraput district, which was missing for the past 19 months due to the closure of the factory, came back on Thursday after the operations resumed.
Works at the mill were suspended in April, 2019 owing to the lack of funds and later due to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic in the country since March, 2020.
Due to the closure of the mill, at least 1,500 regular and contractual workers of the paper mill were rendered jobless. Many workers even allegedly died due to stress of losing their jobs and Covid-19.
The company was reopened reportedly after a series of protests by the workers and discussion between local MLA, district administration and the mill authorities.
A worker who reached the mill to rejoin duty said, “We are happy that the factory has reopened today after 19 long months. All the employees have started joining and I hope, once the production starts, the mill will make profit.”
“We have been receiving irregular payment since 2016 but we still had a job. The last two years were stressful as we had lost our source of livelihood. But now as the mill has restarted, we are very delighted,” said another worker.
The Sewa Paper Mills, initially owned by Ballarpur Industries Ltd. (BIL), was started in 1984 and was closed multiple times due to a financial crisis. The mill has been taken over by Mother Earth Resources Private Limited.