Thiruvananthapuram: The state govt will strongly intervene with the central government’s privatisation policies, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the Assembly on Monday. The centre is relentless with its privatisation plans for railway, power, defence and other crucial public sectors. It turns a blind eye to the opposition erupting around the country against its wrongful policies. The state has conveyed deep concern over centre’s handing of the public sector units in the state to private parties, said CM in the Assembly seeking special attention to the issue from S Sarma.
Cochin Refineries including BPCL is on the sale list. Bharat Petroleum, the country’s largest oil company and one that enjoys gem status among national peers, runs on profits for the last 50 years. If Cochin Refineries were to be privatised, it would adversely impact the Petro Chemical Park started on KIIFB funds. Letters were sent twice to the Prime Minister and Finance Ministry requesting a withdrawal of privatisation plans. The letter made special request to avoid selling stake to private parties, so the companies were retained in the public sector itself. On 19 Nov, 2019 the Kerala Assembly had unanimously passed resolution against privatisation of these units . A copy of the document was sent to the central government.
Even as the centre continues its privatisation spree unabated, the state government by contrast is taking over defunct companies in the state and setting it operational to retain as many of them as possible in the public sector.
Though state government had vehemently opposed to stake sale of Hindustan News Print in Kottayam, the centre went ahead with its plans nevertheless. In the incident, although the state govt had informed its willingness to take over the company’s assets, the centre carried on liquidation proceedings. Subsequently, based on ruling from National Company Law tribunal, the company was subject to corporate insolvency procedure. The state meanwhile submitted Resolution Plan for Hindustan News Print n front of Resolution Professional which also found approval by the Committee of Creditors. If the recommendation for plan by Committee for Creditors manages to find nod from the National Law Tribunal, hopefully the state should be able to implement takeover proceedings.
In Palakkad, despite the state government sending forth draft resolution toward taking over of Instrumentation Ltd, there has been no favourable response from the centre. In the communiqué, the state government has explained its opposition over centre’s demand for land cost, which actually pertains to the 123 acre allocated free-of-cost by the state itself towards industrial development.
In case of Centre-State venture of BHEL_EML in Kasaragod, when the centre floated plans for stake sale, the state government proposed to buy 51 percent shares. The final approval from centre on the draft proposal is yet to be received. BHEL which holds majority stake is also vested with control of the company. Even so, the state govt has paid up Rs 6.8 core as its contribution to help with the company’s financial sluggishness and welfare of its workers.
The centre has also plans to sell Bharat Earth Movers Ltd(MEML) - a company in Palakkad, fully owned by the central government Hasty procedures are on to invite Letter of Interest for the deal. A letter dated 05.01.2021 sent to the Prime Minister pointed out how sale of MEML that manufactures military vehicles, metro coaches etc could among other things, pose threat to national security too.
The state government thus is making all possible interventions to stop centre from advancing its privatisation plans and will continue to do so, CM told the House.