Home ECONOMY BJD on the attack, Odisha BJP defensive on NALCO disinvestment

BJD on the attack, Odisha BJP defensive on NALCO disinvestment

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 15:

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who are accused of ‘match-fixing’ by Opposition Congress on umpteen occasions have found themselves on a slippery turf over their stand on reports of Centre’s decision to divest stakes in as many as 13 PSUs, including National Aluminium Company (NALCO) in Odisha.

NALCO-logoWhile the BJD has lashed out at the Centre on Tuesday on its plans to divest 12.15 percent stake in the Navaratna company NALCO, the state unit BJP is in a catch-22 situation over the proposal as it had vehemently opposed the move by the previous UPA government in 2012.

“We have been opposing divestment of Navaratna PSU NALCO and will continue to do so. We are unable to make out the motive behind divesting a profit-making company. Our party would oppose the decision and stage protest against it,” senior BJD leader and party spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said.

Interestingly, the BJP, who had called for a state-wide agitation against the UPA government’s proposal to divest stake in NALCO, has landed in a ticklish situation over BJP-ruled NDA government’s decision at the Centre.

“The Union Cabinet hasn’t decided on anything like this. The BJD is misleading people. Let the Cabinet take a call on it, the state unit will make its stand clear then,” state unit President KV Singhdeo said.

It may be recalled that senior Congress leader and incumbent leader of Opposition (LoP) Narasingh Mishra had met then Union Minister in the UPA government and urged him to shelve the divestment plans. The state unit Congress too has now opposed the Centre’s divestment proposal in NALCO.

“We had opposed a similar move by the previous UPA government and now also we are opposed to it. The BJD’s protest is nothing short of hogwash.”

Similarly, Left parties have opposed Centre’s divestment plans. Veteran CPI leader Ramakrushna Panda said the party would unite all trade unions of NALCO and stage protests at various locations against the decision.

Notably, the Centre holds 87.15 percent stake in NALCO at present.

The Centre has initiated process to divest 5 to 15 percent stake in 13 state-owned firms to meet the Rs 41,000 crore sell off this fiscal.

Sources in the department of divestment said, the government would sell around 5 to 15 percent stake in NALCO, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), National Fertilizers Ltd, MMTC, Hindustan Copper, Engineers India Ltd, India Tourism and Development Corp (ITDC), MMDC, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF), NTPC, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Dredging Corporation and State Trading Corp.

At current market prices, the sale in IOC is likely to fetch about Rs 9,000 crore, EIL Rs 700 crore, NALCO Rs 1,200 crore and NMDC Rs 5,300 crore.

Divestment in BHEL is expected to fetch around Rs 2,900 crore, NTPC Rs 6,000 crore, RCF Rs 190 crore and Dredging Corporation Rs 60 crore.

The Centre is likely to rake in Rs 1,000 crore by diluting its stake in Hindustan Copper, Rs 169 crore from ITDC, Rs 800 crore from MMTC, Rs 240 crore from National Fertilizers Ltd and Rs 140 crore from State Trading Corp.