Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has once again written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, repeating her request to the Centre to reconsider its decision to disinvest five per cent stake in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC).
She expressed disappointment that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had recently approved the disinvestment, without taking into account the two alternatives she had suggested. “This is yet another instance in which the Central Government has ridden roughshod over the very legitimate and genuine concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu,” said Jayalalithaa in her letter, even as she recalled that she had provided two alternatives earlier.
In a letter dated May 23, she had suggested that the Centre have NLC delisted by buying back the 6.44 per cent stake that is presently in public hands, using the buyback mechanism available under SEBI regulations.
She had also suggested that the Securities Contracts Regulation Rules (SCRR) could be amended to make a special exemption for NLC.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Government of India has dismissed both the alternatives without any serious consideration. I am surprised to find from your letter that signalling to financial markets has taken precedence over the welfare of thousands of workers and the concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu, as articulated by their democratically elected government,” said Jayalalithaa. Dismissing the decision to disinvest the five per cent “hasty and poorly reasons,” Jayalalithaa urged the Centre to retain the public character of NLC.
She further rubbished the PM’s reply that unions had been consulted on the matter and pointed out that almost all the unions involved had announced they would hold agitations against the disinvestment. She said the resultant labour unrest could lead to further worsening of the power deficit situation in the State. Jayalalithaa asked the PM to take the wider ramifications of the proposed disinvestment into account and recapitulated her demand that such a move not be allowed to go through.