The crisis surrounding disinvestment in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) took a new turn on Tuesday when Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa offered to buy its five per cent shares through the State government’s Public Sector Undertakings to protect the ‘public sector’ character of the NLC as well as assuage the feelings of the workers who have announced an indefinite strike from July 3. As such, she has also requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to sell the NLC shares to any other private entity.
Writing to the PM in this regard, the Chief Minister pointed out that the current situation at NLC needs a pragmatic solution and proposed that the five per cent government of India shareholding in the NLC be offered to one or more of the Tamil Nadu government’s PSUs — Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO), State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) and Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC).
She further said since the above PSUs fall within the meaning of ‘public’ as defined under Rule 2(d) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules, 1957, offer of shares to them would ensure that NLC complies with Rule 19(2) and Rule 19A of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Rules.
The nod of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on June 21 for proceeding with the NLC disinvestment, which completely brushed aside the legitimate concerns of the workers and trampled on the aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu, had created a sense of uncertainty in the minds of the workers and the local people, the CM said.
The Centre’s decision had provoked almost all trade unions, which are in a highly charged mood, into giving a notice for an indefinite strike.