The AIADMK will on Tuesday stage demonstrations across all district headquarters protesting the UPA’s decision to sell five per cent shares of the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) and the Centre’s failure to take a favourable decision on the State government’s offer to buy the offloaded shares through its Public Sector Undertakings to protect the ‘public sector’ character of the NLC.
In a statement here, the AIADMK chief said the UPA government at the Centre, ever since it assumed office in 2004, had been showing extraordinary interest in selling the shares of the NLC, which fulfils power requirements of the State to a significant extent. She recalled that the Centre had given up its move to sell 10 per cent shares of the NLC in 2006 and 2009 after stiff opposition by the AIADMK.
This time around as well, she had requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reconsider the decision in her letter dated June 8 and later. On June 25, she urged the PM to sell NLC shares only to TN PSUs and not to any private entity. However, the Central government has failed to take any favourable decision and there are reports that Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has given a go ahead for selling the NLC shares, she said.
Taking a dig at DMK president M Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa said it was he who had issued a statement initially on the issue, but had conveniently forgotten it after his daughter Kanimozhi’s Rajya Sabha election.
In a related development, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, E M Sudarsana Natchiappan, welcomed Jayalalithaa’s gesture on buying five per cent NLC shares. He added that the Centre was willing to divest another five per cent share in NLC if Tamil Nadu so desired.
Addressing a press conference, Natchiappan said that the Centre had no problem with the proposal made by Tamil Nadu. “Let them talk to us. We are willing to give a further 5 per cent shares if they want,” he said.
Natchiappan said divesting shares in NLC would help improve revenue generation, and result in increased power production. He added that this would in the long run benefit the State.
Disinvestment in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation would benefit the employees as they would be given preference in buying of the shares, Natchiappan claimed.