MANGALDAI, June 23 - Clouds of uncertainty surround the future of Prag Bosimi Synthetics Limited (PBSL), a joint venture of the Assam Government and the first polyester filament yarn manufacturing industry in the North East, located at Bijulibari village of Sipajhar in Darrang district as two towers of the 132 KV Sishugram Power Sub-Station carrying power directly to the industry, which were damaged over a month ago, are yet to be repaired.
“We have came to know from the PBSL authority about the damage of two towers of the Sishugram Sub-Station carrying 132 KV power line to the industry in the wake of a heavy storm that had lashed the area on May 13 last. Immediately, we forwarded the matter to the concerned authority, our sister concern AEGCL, as they look after such high voltage power connections. Subsequently, we tried to enhance our service to our subscribers from the existing 11 KV power line, even though we know it can never compensate the high voltage power supply for production”, said Partha Pratim Sarma, Deputy General Manager, APDCL, Mangaldai Circle.
However, till the filing of this report, power supply to the industry has not been restored, resulting in heavy loss to the industry, which has an overall property of more than Rs 500 crore and an employee strength of more than 300. “Delay in non-restoration of the high voltage power supply has caused serious loss to our company. You can say that with around Rs 45 lakh of monthly staff salary and other maintenance costs, bank interests etc., daily we are losing several lakhs of rupees. Above all, we have suffered a heavy loss in our market which is very competitive nowadays,” lamented Raktim Das, president, Finance and Administration, PBSL while talking to this correspondent on Sunday over phone from Guwahati.
On being asked about their role in restoring of the requisite power service, Das said, “We have written nearly 35 letters in this regard and have physically approached the higher authority of each and every relevant departments including AIDC, APDCL, AEGCL and the State Power Department with our plea since the day after the storm damaged the towers. However, as we failed to get any written assurance from the respective authorities, we on June 14 last finally moved the Assam Electricity Regulatory Commission for justice and the Commission has fixed June 27 next as the date of hearing.”
Das is quite hopeful that the Commission would deliver the necessary judgement in their favour as the appeal is very much genuine . “I am very much hopeful of a proper judgement on the day and we will be resuming our full production ”, he added. Meanwhile, Das hinted on the possible “lay off” procedure of its regular employees, if they failed to get a favourable judgement from the Commission on June 27 next. “The delay in the restoration of our production has compelled us to release more than 120 trainees and casual staff last month and if we fail to get a favourable judgement from the AERC, we may go for the ‘lay-off’ procedure even for the 150-odd regular staff,”, Das opined.
Meanwhile, talking to this correspondent, Brahmananda Saharia, adviser of the PBSL Employees’ Union said that they have requested Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma for their direct intervention to save the textile industry from the verge of a possible threat of extinction and thus prove the real spirit of Advantage Assam campaign.
It may well be mentioned here that in the nearly 27 years of the history of the industry since commissioning with an annual production capacity of 25,000 tonnes, a temporary halt in production and subsequent release of employees for various reasons is not new. According to information, the industry stopped functioning for altogether more than seven years in five different stages of time and still it is surviving with a new lease of hope in the competitive national market.