THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday urged the Centre to drop the move to privatise Hindustan Newsprint Ltd (HNL).
The State Government has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, Vijayan said after V P Sajeendran raised the issue the issue in the Assembly seeking State Government intervention to prevent disinvestment in the Central public sector undertaking at Vellur, Kottayam.
‘’The state has asked the Centre to release Rs 100 crore as grant or loan. An amount of Rs 450 crore is required for the diversification and modernisation of HNL,’’ he said, adding that all Central PSUs in the state should be retained in the public sector. HNL, which took over the operations of Kerala Newsprint Project in 1983, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kolkata-based Hindustan Paper Corporation.
‘’Over the years, HNL has displayed high standards in its operations. It markets the best newsprint globally. With a turnover of Rs 350 crore, it has handed over a dividend of Rs 117 crore to the Centre so far. However, the company has witnessed some crisis recently due to newsprint imports, high cost of operations and lack of modernisation,’’ Vijayan said.
Sajeendran, who raised the issue in the House through a calling attention motion, said HNL accounted for the livelihood of over 10,000 people either directly or indirectly. ‘’The company had started out with a total capacity of 80,000 tonnes annually. Now the capacity is over 1 lakh tonnes. It has been in profit except for two or three years,’’ he said.