BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asked the Centre to reconsider its decision to disinvest 26 percent of its 54 percent stake in Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML). Recently the Ministry of Defence approved the sale of 26 percent stake and transfer of management control to a private buyer. In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Siddaramaiah said BEML, which is a mini navaratna located in Karnataka with nine manufacturing units across the state, played an important role in the development of the country.
“It has been continuously paying an average dividend of `20 crore and taxes of around `600 crore per year to the exchequer from 2007-2008 and earning foreign exchange through export of mining and other equipment to over 52 countries. It has about 8,000 employees and many more are dependent on this company through its ancillaries. The then NDA government in 1999-2000 had committed itself to the Parliament that the government would not disinvest strategic central public sector enterprises (CPSEs),” he said. Since BEML was engaged in manufacture of defence equipment and requirements of rail transport, it was classified as at strategic CPSE.
“BEML, with a freehold land of 2,696.63 acres and lease land hold land of 1,493.93 acres is a very valuable PSU and cannot be sold to a private sector investor for the sake of achieving the disinvestment target,” he argued.He added that disinvestment of a strategic and profit making CPSE only leads to private sector investor reaping windfall benefits and profits at the cost of the public and is likely to undermine the security of the country.