CM inaugurates newsprint firm KPPL; criticises Centre's disinvestment policy

Kottayam: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday inaugurated the manufacturing of newsprint from Kerala Paper Products Limited (KPPL) here, the erstwhile Hindustan Newsprint Limited (HNL) which was taken over and revived by the state government, and said its objective is to protect the public sector enterprises while the Centre is keen on disinvestment policy.

A central public sector undertaking earlier, the 700-acre plant, located at Velloor, had been defunct since June 2019 and the manufacturing was restarted by the state government as part of the revival and restructuring of the facility.

When the Union government decided to privatise HNL after it was shut down citing financial loss, the Left government in Kerala constituted KPPL to take over the company.

Expressing confidence that the KPPL would turn into a leading newspaper manufacturing company in the country soon, the Chief Minister said the target is to achieve a capacity to produce five lakh metric tons of paper and an annual turnover of Rs 3000 crore.

"The KPPL is an institution which has great development potential. The HNL had also worked here in a remarkable manner for three decades. We hope that a better performance can be showcased through the ongoing revival and restructuring programmes," Vijayan said.

The revival of paper machines, de-inking plant and power boilers and associated auxiliary plants and utility services were given focus under the first phase of the restart programme, he said adding that Rs 34.30 crore was allocated for the purpose.

The total outlay for the revival plan was Rs 154.39 crore including the working capital component of Rs 75.15 crore for Phases 1 and 2.

With the completion of the revival and restructuring after spending an overall Rs 1000 crore, the KPPL would become a leading newsprint manufacturing company in the country's newspaper industry sector, the CM said.

The left leader also criticised the BJP-led union government for its alleged "stubbornness" to disinvest central PSUs and said the policy of the state government is to take over, protect and retain them in the public sector itself.

KPPL uses its own de-inked pulp and pulp purchased from Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Limited (TNPL) for the production trials.

Currently with 252 employees, both managerial and non-managerial officials combined are engaged for the restart activities of Phases 1 and 2. PTI

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