GUWAHATI: The Centre’s move to privatise Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has triggered outrage in Assam. The BPCL holds 61.65 per cent share of Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) which is located in the state’s Golaghat district.
The NRL is very dear to the Assamese as it is a fruit of historic Assam Accord of 1985 signed between All Assam Students’ Union and the then Rajiv Gandhi government at the end of a six-year-long bloody anti-immigrants’ agitation.
The protestors on Monday vented their ire by burning the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and chanting anti-BJP slogans. They made it clear that they would not allow the BPCL subsidiary’s privatization.
The protestors said the Centre’s move would make a lot of locals jobless. The NRL is a profit-making unit and as such, the developments have baffled many. The Numaligarh Refinery Employees’ Union (NREU) sought the intervention of Parliamentarians.
NREU general secretary Binod Gogoi said they would oppose the disinvestment tooth and nail. He said they would petition all MPs of the state and the CM and urge them to take necessary measures in this regard.
The AASU warned of launching a statewide agitation “if the Centre does not rollback” the decision.
“Most employees of NRL are indigenous people who are skilled and they have shown to the world their technical abilities. They will face an uncertain future if the PSU is privatised,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
Opposition Congress has lent its support to the protestors.
“The privatization of NRL will hurt the interests of Assam and the Assamese. We appeal to the people of Assam to raise their voice against this anti-Assamese move of the Narendra Modi government,” the party said.
Sonowal, however, expressed ignorance on the Centre’s move.
“The state government hasn’t yet received any communiqué from the Centre. It is only through the media that we have learnt about the disinvestment plan,” he said.